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An Analysis by Garrett Velarde


The MMA settlement for March was unanimously decided at $0.425 per pound. This represents a decrease of $0.025 per pound from the February settlement. Are we heading for 3 straight months of decreases in the MMA settlement?

The acetone settlement mirrored the drop in refinery grade propylene (RGP) from mid-month to mid-month. The propane dehydrogenation (PDH) units are in good form, which reduces the need for RGP to go to the splitters for an upgrade. RGP continues to hover in the high 20’s while polymer grade propylene (PGP) is in the low to mid 40’s.

Domestic acetone supply is centered around two key words: imports…..and imports. One publication noted that there was more acetone brought into the USA in January of this year than in all of 2011. Wow! Even with Shell’s Phenol 3 plant (150,000 MT acetone capacity) officially shut down and Olin’s Oyster Creek facility on a planned turnaround, pricing has come down in the spot market in the last
couple weeks. As stated last month, global economics for international producers could greatly impact the domestic spot market if pricing continues to dip though.

The domestic truck and rail market saw more softening over the course of March. The Midwest battles have extended into the USGC as all players are trying to move their pounds out the door. Will drum buyers soon be getting similar economics to barge buyers!?

We predicted a slight movement down from February to March in the MMA Settlement. Cha-ching! For April, we predict a flat line. We have not seen any movement one way or the other in propylene to predict a jump or fall for the MMA



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