- China's weaker automotive sector dents PMMA demand
- S Korea's May MMA exports to US slip 1.9% on month to 2,121.5 mt
Asian methyl methacrylate CFR China marker was assessed lower -- both on a day-on-day and week-on-week basis June 23 -- in line with softening China domestic MMA prices.
Downstream, both the CFR China and the CFR SEA polymethyl methacrylate for general purpose, injection grade were unchanged June 23.
In market news, South Korea's methyl methacrylate exports to the US inched 1.9% lower on the month to 2,121.50 mt in May, according to the latest data from Korean Customs. However, the May MMA exports from S Korea to the US spiked by more than 17 times compared with the same month last year at 120.30 mt.
The volume of Asian MMA heading to the US has risen since the beginning of the year due to a disruption in feedstock acetone production, which left the US in short supply of MMA, S&P Global Platts reported previously. The tight MMA supply in the US was exacerbated by the polar vortex, which brought subfreezing temperatures to much of the US during January-February this year, causing many refineries and petrochemical plants to shut operations. As a result, at least two major MMA producers in the US declared force majeure on the petrochemical given the shortfall of feedstock acetone in late January.
The tightness in the US MMA market has not been fully resolved, even after the producers lifted the forces majeures, several market sources told Platts earlier.
The CFR China MMA marker rose to a record high $2,135/mt on March 2, the highest since Platts first started assessing MMA in June 2020. The CFR China marker has since retreated to $1,919/mt on June 22 following an increase in new capacities in China and many plants in Asia restarting production after a heavy turnaround season.
In the PMMA market, softer demand from China's automotive sector was of some concern.
In May, China's car production fell 1% year on year to 780,000 units, while SUV output declined 2.1% year on year to 715,000 units, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China. The loss in PMMA demand from the automotive sector was largely compensated by the sharp increase in demand from the semiconductor sector, a trader based in Singapore said.
"[PMMA] demand [in July-August] will depend on PMMA production of protective shield for COVID-19 as well."