HOUSTON (ICIS)--US April barge acetone contracts fully settled on Friday down 9.8% from March levels.
The 5.25 cent/lb ($116/tonne) decline puts contracts at 48.5 cents/lb on a DEL (delivered) via barge basis.
Some sources said the decline was in line with expectations, while others expected a steeper fall.
Upstream refinery-grade propylene (RGP) fell by around 6 cents/lb on a weighted average basis, but closed the mid-month to mid-month period trending lower.
This led some buyers to push for steeper April decline, which they said will now likely take place in May, given that the current RGP spot price will start around 6 cents/lb lower than the most recent weighted average value.
Other sources said that acetone remains tight in the US, with one producer ending a short turnaround early in the month and another still on a turnaround.
Additionally, imports from Asia remain largely unattractive, so domestic buyers are left with solely domestic options.
Demand in April also strengthened, sources said, as a major downstream unit restarted around the middle of the month.
Supply of methyl methacrylate (MMA), the largest derivative, is tight, so producers are running hard and boosting acetone demand.
On the bisphenol A (BPA) side, producers have been able to run harder as competition from overseas producers on derivatives has eased.
The US barge acetone contract it typically settled between two large producers – INEOS Phenol and Shell Chemical – and the three largest buyers – Dow Chemical, Evonik and Lucite.