Acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer market supplies were expected to remain tight in the second quarter due to a heavy schedule of turnarounds in the US Gulf Coast and Asia. Acetyls producers issued a series of price increases in the first quarter and in April as supplies tightened in reaction to the production outages, and also in response to sharply higher feedstock methanol costs.
Everything was falling into place for the producers at the beginning of March as price increases were being accepted for VAM, particularly, and acetic acid in all regions. Beginning in mid-March, however, methanol spot prices decreased sharply and methanol contract prices in the United States and Asia settled lower. The Q2 methanol price in Europe increased, but that had been expected in order to allow market prices to catch up to the other regions. Acetyls market participants said were not overly concerned with methanol prices for April and May due to the expected supply tightness caused by the turnarounds. Buyers may see a glimmer of hope in the form of the weaker methanol market, and especially if prices fall again heading into May.
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