01 February 2006 10:41 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--European bisphenol A (BPA) contract prices for February are expected to increase by about Euro40-50/tonne on the back of a 23% rise in January benzene numbers, buyers and sellers said on Wednesday.
After prices BPA fell in January, by Euro40/tonne to Euro1,250-1,300/tonne FD (free delivered) Northwest Europe, producers have already been able to implement up to Euro50/tonne hikes on some accounts for February monthly contracts. But the majority of contracts have yet to be concluded and negotiations continue.
The downward spiral in BPA prices which has taken place in recent months has been attributed largely to a combination of sluggish demand in the polycarbonate (PC) market, the main driver for BPA prices, and Asia Pacific material offered in Europe.
The European market is still oversupplied as Asian product continues to be offered to European buyers, but an improvement in demand from the polycarbonate market and the rise in benzene numbers have allowed producers to seek higher prices.
Market sources refused to speculate whether this could be the start of a sustained upward movement in BPA prices. However, some participants emphasised that although the market remains oversupplied, benzene prices moved up again in February.
The first February European benzene contract price was agreed on Tuesday at Euro675/tonne, an increase of Euro72/tonne from January, by a major consumer and all of its suppliers.
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