- CFR China hits 2021 high on feedstock shortage, spike in domestic prices
- Ongoing turnarounds further tighten the supply
Asian methyl methacrylate, or MMA, CFR China marker was up $75/mt day on the day and surged $456/mt week on week at $2,000/mt on Feb. 24.
The MMA CFR China marker hit the highest on Feb. 24 since S&P Global Platts started assessing the market in June 2020, driven by a shortage in feedstock acetone, a spike in China domestic prices, and a sharp recovery in demand.
The CFR China price surge was attributable to spikes in Chinese domestic MMA prices. The prompt China domestic MMA prices were heard at around Yuan 15,733.33/mt, which was up 5.24% on the day and up 23.73% on the week. Downstream, Asian polymethyl methacrylate, or PMMA, CFR China was assessed up $20/mt day on day at $2,120/mt for general purpose, injection-grade on Feb. 24, amid a spike in domestic PMMA price as well as the upstream MMA.
The spike in the MMA and the PMMA prices was largely attributable to the MMA production in the US, which was impacted by a disruption in feedstock acetone production and subsequent shortages due to heavy snowfall, Platts reported.
"One of the major MMA producers in the US declared force majeure on MMA mainly due to the shortfall of feedstock acetone in late January," an MMA trader based in South Korea said earlier.
As a result, the US snapped up Asian MMA cargoes, further tightening supply in the northeast and Southeast Asia, the source added.
A sharp recovery in the downstream sectors also helped boost MMA prices. The monthly output of cars in China jumped 11% on the year at 10.62 million units in December 2020, showing that the sector grew even during the pandemic. The output of cement-making equipment in the same month increased 21% on the month at 36,718.9 mt, which signaled that the construction sector was recovering, the latest data from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed.
Ongoing turnarounds at MMA plants also continued to tighten the Asian MMA supply. South Korea's Lotte MCC has shut its 110,000 mt/year MMA plant in Yeosu for a scheduled turnaround from mid-February, Platts reported previously. "[It seems there is] no [MMA] product in the market at all," a trader based in China said on Feb. 24, adding that, "it's too volatile."