US Isophthalic Acid Prices Drop Amid Sluggish Downstream Demand
US Isophthalic Acid Prices Drop Amid Sluggish Downstream Demand

US Isophthalic Acid Prices Drop Amid Sluggish Downstream Demand

  • 10-Nov-2023 2:33 PM
  • Journalist: Shiba Teramoto

Isophthalic Acid prices in the US market retreated in the past few weeks and continued to follow the trend steadily. In recent weeks, subdued fluctuations in demand have had a soft impact on the overall price range. This steadiness follows a previous price rebound driven by moderate demand from the PET and end-use manufacturing sectors. Observing various asset markets, Isophthalic Acid retailers seem to be embracing the idea of a slowdown in the United States. Interest rates in the US are holding steady at recent low levels, and as of now, there hasn't been a coordinated response from the Federal Reserve opposing this relaxation of financial conditions.

The consistent inquiries received by US Isophthalic Acid manufacturers can be attributed to a lack of enthusiasm from both the US government and buyers. Furthermore, the ongoing decrease in domestic market prices for the feedstock (mixed xylene) has affected the overall production cost of Isophthalic Acid, leading to improved profit margins for Isophthalic retailers. As of the week ending November 3rd, the quoted price for Isophthalic Acid was USD 1460 per metric ton, CFR Texas, in the US market.

Major facets impacting the overall price trend of Isophthalic Acid included the subtle demand outlook from PET-consuming bottles and the demand for recycled PET pellets. The demand and pricing of recycled resin are directly affected by the quality, which is determined by factors such as performance, color, and the intended end markets. Historically, the US market has primarily utilized bottle flakes in fiber applications, but there has been substantial growth in the bottle-to-bottle market in recent years. This shift is attributed to the sustainability initiatives of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies. The increasing emphasis on closed-loop recycling for food-contact applications raises the quality standards for Isophthalic Acid and recycled products.

The fluctuations in crude and naphtha prices proportionally impact the mixed xylene operational and production costs. Meanwhile, US gasoline inventories declined by approximately 360,000 barrels, based on information from market sources citing figures from the American Petroleum Institute. Moreover, the US imports Isophthalic Acid, and China has reported a decrease in exports in October, highlighting the precarious nature of an economic recovery striving for stability.

As per ChemAnalyst, Isophthalic Acid prices are expected to move steadily in the upcoming weeks as the number of new orders may remain lower along with dipped feedstock prices. According to the most recent Global Port Tracker report, a collaborative effort between the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, the anticipation is for a slowdown in inbound cargo volume at significant container ports in the United States as the holiday season approaches.

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