Jan liquid epoxy resins down €20-40/t from Dec

22 January 2008 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Europe January liquid epoxy resin contracts were settled between €2,580-2,700/tonne ($3,769-3,945/tonnne), down €20-40/tonne on December, buyers and sellers confirmed on Tuesday.

The decreases, assessed on a FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) basis, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing, were the result of ongoing pressure due to slowing demand and ample supply.

The pressure on solid epoxy resins was not as distinct as on liquid counter, with prices reported down by only €20/tonne to €2,520-2,610/tonne FD NWE.

Upstream, first-quarter European epichlorohydrin (ECH) contracts were assessed at €1,680-1,720/tonne FD NWE, between a rollover and plus €30/tonne on the back of rising costs from feedstock propylene, despite a comfortable demand and supply situation.

Looking ahead, sources differed over the short-term prospects for prices. Buyers said they had certainly received no indications of increases and hoped the erosion would continue. Some did not rule out a rollover in February, however.

How long this pressure would last was largely a factor of demand, sources said. Current levels were soft, except into the wind turbine industry, which continues to grow rapidly, according to some commentators.

There was sentiment among some epoxy sellers that prices could go up, however. Even so, the short term view was distinctly different to that seen a year ago, when the market had foreseen dramatic growth.

Large volumes of product were continuing to arrive from Asia, tilting the balance in favour of buyers. This could change in February, one source said with demand expected to return following the end of Chinese New Year celebrations.

According to one seller, however, a repeat of the rapid growth of early 2007 was unlikely. Producers said demand in the second half could permit prices to go up enough to alleviate their tight margins.

By: Adal Rafiq
+44 20 8652 3214

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