BASF increases prices for activated bleaching clays

(BASF) -- BASF, the global leader in catalysis, today announced that it is raising prices worldwide for its activated bleaching clays by 9 %, or as contracts allow. The price increase will be effective September 1, 2011. Bleaching clays are used by vegetable oil refiners, among others, to remove impurities and clarify the oil.

BASF's Catalysts division is the world's leading supplier of environmental and process catalysts. The group offers exceptional expertise in the development of technologies that protect the air we breathe, produce the fuels that power our world and ensure efficient production of a wide variety of chemicals, plastics and other products. By leveraging our industry-leading R&D platforms, passion for innovation and deep knowledge of precious and base metals, BASF's Catalysts division develops unique, proprietary catalyst and adsorbent solutions that drive customer success.


US Aug BD heads to 5, 11 cent/lb split settlement on SBR demand

(ICIS) -- The US August butadiene (BD) contract was heading towards a split settlement of 5 cents/lb (USD 110/tonne, EUR 77/tonne) and 11 cents/lb, a buyer said on Wednesday.
Three buyers agreed to an increase of 5 cents/lb, while a fourth buyer agreed to an increase of 11 cents/lb. The August contract increases will push the settlement to 175 cents/lb for three producers, and to 186 cents/lb for a fourth producer.

Two of the producers initially nominated an increase of 10 cents/lb. However, they later followed the lead of a third producer, who nominated a 5-cent/lb increase. The 11 cent/lb increase was initially nominated at 15 cents/lb. Throughout the year, demand for BD has run well ahead of supply, particularly in the downstream styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) sector.

Meanwhile, supplies of BD have been tight because of production problems and a lack of crude C4.


Europe acrylic acid and esters market faces uncertain outlook for Q3

(ICIS) -- The European acrylic acid and acrylate esters market is in a state of confusion, as uncertainty surrounding feedstock propylene and a wide scattering of prices has led to some nervousness among players, sources said on Thursday.

⌠Some purchasers are very nervous, said one supplier. ⌠There are concerns about security of supply, so we have seen some healthy buying interest despite the usual August slowdown. The sentiment for September is very strong - there is a real sense of this - and buyers are trying to better secure volumes.

Another major European seller agreed, adding that it had already confirmed some contracts for August at a rollover despite the eventual propylene reduction of EUR 15/tonne. ⌠The drop in propylene took everyone by surprise and possibly worried the purchasers a little, said the seller.

There was also some concern surrounding availability in Asia and any potential impact in Europe following a fire at a propylene pipeline in Taiwan over the weekend.

However, no damage was reported at the 100 KTa crude acrylic acid plant located in the same complex, and operating rates were maintained at 100%, said a source from the company.
With prices in the Chinese market continuing to firm on restricted availability in the region, no significant volumes are expected to make their way into Europe in the coming weeks.


BASF will return lower-than-expected profits in 2011

(ICIS) -- Petrochemicals giant BASF will return lower-than-expected profits in 2011 but remains undervalued on the German bourse, analysts at US-based Bernstein Research said on Wednesday.
BASF's earnings per share (EPS) will be an estimated EUR 6.57 (USD 9.39) in 2011, the Bernstein analysts said, down from the EUR 7.13 they forecast earlier in 2011. They also cut their target share price for BASF by 3.9%, from EUR 77 to EUR 74.

The lower outlook for the company comes after a second quarter in which the company failed to meet analysts' expectations, pushing its share price down 5%.

However, Bernstein believes that the company remains significantly undervalued, and their target share price is well above the EUR 59.76 seen in trading on Germany's DAX on 3 August. Bernstein's earnings forecast remains as much as 10% above other analysts', the research company said, giving BASF's shares an Outperform rating.


BR prices in China may strengthen through September

(ICIS) -- Butadiene rubber (BR) prices in China may strengthen through September, with a spate of major turnarounds at domestic facilities likely to shave third-quarter supply in the market by about 13%, industry sources on Thursday.

The estimated loss of supply was more than 20 KT, they said. In July, China's actual BR output stood at about 45.3 KT, 21% lower than the total production in June, according to data from Chemease, an ICIS service in China.

BR offers were at CNY35.500/tonne (USD 5.512/tonne) this week, market sources said. In the week ending 29 July, spot prices were assessed at CNY35.200-35.800/tonne, according to ICIS.
Before the spate of shutdowns in the third quarter, China's BR prices were hovering at CNY30.700/tonne-31.000/tonne, ICIS data showed.

A number of Chinese BR producers are due to conduct annual maintenance at their plants, while one producer shut down production in June for an indefinite period because of squeezed margins stemming from soaring prices of feedstock butadiene (BD), industry sources said.