06 September 2004 00:01 [Source: ICB]
|European spot||European contract||US contract|
|€/tonne||$/tonne||Change on last week||€/tonne||$/tonne||$/tonne|
|Ethylene||na||995-1005 (cif)||+20||635 (Q3)||770||694 (July) +|
|Propylene¹||620-650(cif)||na||+60||585 (Q3)||709||694 (July)|
|Butadiene||na||730-750 (fob) (nom)||+40||580 (Q3)||703||727 (Aug)|
|Benzene||na||1145-1155 (fob)||-12.5||950 (Sept)||1154||1181 (Sept)|
|Xylenes||na||765-770 (fob) (nom)||+57.5||na||na||551 (July)|
|Paraxylene||na||820-840 (fob)||+20||715 (Sept)||869||777 (July)|
|Orthoxylene||na||770-810 (cif)||+50||585 (Q3)||715||694 (July)|
|Styrene²||na||1350-1400 (fob)||+117.5||1060-1080 (Aug)||1307-1332||1427-1433 (July)|
|Methanol||220-225 (fob) (nom)||na||nc||230 (Q3)||279||281 (Aug)|
|Ammonia||na||270-275 (CFR)||+1.5||na||na||290 (CFR) (1H Aug)|
|NOTES *TDI grade; ¹Polymer grade; ²Range represents barge price, free delivery inland contract is €25/tonne higher; + initial settlement|
Naphtha prices have fallen away from their mid-August high, reflecting the slide in crude oil numbers. Improved prompt availability has also impacted naphtha values. Lower futures prices confirm the softer market sentiment.
Ethylene spot numbers continue to firm and are now quoted in the range of $1000/tonne cif NWE. Availability continues to be an issue. A force majeure relating to an unscheduled cracker outage in Germany has now been lifted; however, a major UK unit continues to undergo a scheduled maintenance outage. Outages at a number of derivative units may bring some relief to the market, although it remains difficult to source material off the ARG pipeline.
Propylene prices have shifted up to €620-650/tonne cif NWE, reflecting strong demand and rising prices in Asia. While European spot markets are far from active, producers needing to cover commitments are believed to have purchased polymer grade material within the quoted price range. European traders are said to be seeking material to go to Asia, if logistics allow.
Butadiene spot numbers remain largely notional with little spot material available in the market. The rise in spot prices is largely being driven by higher Asian demand and firming Asian prices. Traders again talk of problems in securing molecules to build viable parcels to shift to Asia. US contract prices increased by 1 cent/lb in August, up to 33 cent/lb.
Benzene spot prices are hovering at $1145-1155/tonne. Although there is more benzene availability in Europe due to styrene shutdowns, prices remain strong, with US offtake healthy. The September benzene contract has settled at €950/tonne, up €55/tonne on the August price.
Toluene offers peaked at $800/tonne in the last week of August as a result of strong Asian and US demand and firm oil prices. Prices then came off slightly, following crude downwards, with a deal reported at $770/tonne cif.
Mixed xylene spot activity has been subdued lately. Prices have risen to around $765-770/tonne fob NWE, and are expected to remain high despite the recent dip in crude and gasoline numbers. Product availability is extremely limited.
The paraxylene contract settled at €715/tonne FD NWE, a significant increase of €85/tonne and ‘not a bad number’ according to one producer. Nevertheless, some sellers had been looking for a more substantial hike.
Europe is currently tight to balanced and demand remains stable. Spot numbers are at $820-840/tonne fob NWE. The Asian market is still strong and continues to pull a lot of product.
Orthoxylene numbers are still on the up at $770-810/tonne fob NWE. Sources say that players are looking for molecules in what has become an extremely short market, and apart from an $810/tonne deal, little business has been heard.
Styrene spot stands at $1350-1400/tonne, boosted by the expectation of a tighter market in September due to planned turnarounds. An unplanned outage had prompted one seller to offer high numbers and €1250/tonne was mentioned as an offer for the September FCA contract. However, most players were still calculating the effects of the benzene settlement.
Methanol prices are quoted at €220-225/tonne. Buyers expect numbers to move towards €215-220/tonne in the second half of September as availability improves following summer shutdowns. Around 10 000 tonne/month of Iranian material is said to be arriving in Europe, with players also speculating how the volumes out of the new Atlas plant in Trinidad will affect Europe.
MTBE prices are heard at $495-505/tonne as gasoline values have firmed. Demand is good and the market is still balanced to tight. One observer suggests that maintenance turnarounds could soon lead to rising prices. The factor to gasoline is stable at 1.23-1.24.
Ammonia prices are a touch firmer, with Yuzhnyy numbers quoted at $240-245/tonne and September material out of Yuzhnyy said to be booked up. Players are awaiting the effects of the start-up of the Trinidad plant; most of the material is expected to head to the US.
Abbreviations and currency notes
Prices contained in this magazine are obtained by ECN through consultation with producers, consumers and merchants across Europe. They are intended as a guide to price levels of recent business in Europe and reflect medium to large tonnage sales.
Spot prices are quoted fob (free-on-board) NW European port, cif (cost, insurance and freight), FCA (free carrier), CFR (cost and freight). T2 = EC material, not dutiable, bld = blending grade, com = commercial grade, nit = nitration grade. European contract prices are quoted on a free delivered basis (FD) unless otherwise stated; initial but unfixed negotiating range is indicated (nom), na = not applicable, m = monthly contracts. Methanol T1 will no longer be quoted, as it now represents negligible spot business.
Spot prices in this issue are based on information available on 1 September 2004. Dollar prices are based on rates of exchange on 31 August 2004. The dollar equivalent range is based on exchange rates prevalent at the time of contract closure if available, or an average rate for the quarter. $1=€0.823; $1=£0.556; €1=£0.676.
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