US export prices of VAM on March 10 up US$100/tonne to US$1,335-US$1,435/tonne free on board, marking fourth price hike in over a month, second US$100/tonne hike in a week, due to force majeure by DuPont, sales allocation by Celanese

LONDON , March 26, 2014 () – As a result of a force majeure declared by DuPont, a sales allocation by Celanese and other plant issues, export prices of US vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) increased by another $100/tonne on 10 Mar 2014 to $1335-1435/tonne free on board (FOB). This is the fourth price hike in a little over a month and the second $100/tonne hike in a week. So far in 2014, VAM FOB prices have increased by 33%. The latest boost in VAM came from Celanese and DuPont. A force majeure through Jun was declared by DuPont on 5 Mar 2014 on material made at its 335,000 tonne/y unit in LaPorte, TX, US, due to a plant outage there. With the plant shutting down, production of approximately 111,667 tonnes will be lost by DuPont at the site. Following DuPont's plant closure, Celanese released a sales allocation on acetic acid and VAM as part of a 4 cent/lb price increase on those products for Apr 2014. Details on the price hike are not revealed by the company. However, market sources believed that Celanese had plant issues at its 300,000 tonnes/y VAM unit in Bay City, TX. Other unit of Celanese, the 310,000 tonne/y facility in Clear Lake, TX, is still operating at normal levels. The week ended 7 Mar, a wide range of FOB estimates, ranging from a low of $1100 tonne to about $1600/tonne on the high side, was provided by South American sources. According to Latin American sources, a VAM price war was coming late 2013 because of closure of two European facilities. South and Latin America depended on exports before the plant closings and even more so now. The week ended 7 Mar, spot VAM prices in Europe increased to record-high levels of EUR 1250-1450/tonne, which converts to $1736/tonne on the low end, due to a severe lack of product. It also resulted from the announced price increase (18 cent/lb) of Dow Chemical. It is believed that the company could not take spot orders at its 365,000 tonne/y Texas City facility and could only serve contract customers at present. A line graph, entitled US VAM prices, details spot prices ($/tonne) of VAM on an FOB export basis from Mar 2012 to Mar 2014.

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