US EG buyers, sellers seek agreement - distributor

15 August 2008 16:57  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The direction of the US ethylene glycol (EG) market remains unclear as buyers continue to seek a cut in prices while sellers attempt to hold the line, a distributor said on Friday.

Buyers noted that energy and feedstock ethylene prices have softened from highs earlier in the summer, and that demand remained low amid the sluggish economy.

“Customers are saying that if EG prices rise on higher oil and ethylene costs, they should fall on lower oil and ethylene costs. So far, it’s not clear what’s going to happen next month, but price support has definitely weakened,” the distributor said.

Sellers, meanwhile, said the combination of tight supply and high production costs from robust feedstock and energy markets earlier this summer provided price support at, or even above, current levels.

While sellers continued to push for increases of 2-10 cents/lb ($44-220/tonne) in August, the different perspectives between buyers and sellers resulted in nearly a total absence of spot barge deals in recent weeks. However, the spot barge market was within a narrow 49-50 cents/lb range on Friday, a trader said, indicating the two sides might be coming together.

Fibre-grade ethylene glycol (EGF) prices are in the low 60s cents/lb FOB US Gulf (USG), according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

US EG suppliers include Equistar, Huntsman, Old World, SABIC and Shell.

($1 = €0.67)

For more on EG visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Gene Lockard
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