Europe chlor prices slide on low demand

13 January 2009 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Prices all across Europe’s chlor sector fell this week as a result of low demand and feedstock movements, market sources said on Tuesday.

Methylene chloride prices fell as result of thin demand and the low methanol settlement, players said. The range was pegged at €390-440/tonne ($522-589/tonne) free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) and $375-435/tonne free on board (FOB) NWE by global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

One source said €380/tonne FD for methylene chloride was possible in southern Europe, while a producer retorted that €430-440/tonne FD NWE was more accurate, but this view was not widely supported in the market.

January chloroform slipped by €15/tonne this week, and the price was pegged at €625-685/tonne FD NWE and $480-520/tonne FOB NWE.

This slight decline was attributed to waning demand and the low first quarter methanol settlement. According to a source, the chloroform market was not as deeply affected by the current macroeconomic climate as it was more of a niche and captive market.

Lower consumption of chloroform was a seasonal characteristic of the time of year, a producer said, as refrigerants were not top of the agenda during winter months.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) demand was reported to be better than it was in December, but it was still weaker than in previous years.

TCE prices slipped to €880-970/tonne FD NWE and $810-865/tonne FOB NWE this week. The low ethylene settlement was the main reason for the drop, according to sources.

A trader said that TCE was actually around €750/tonne FD NWE and $600/tonne FOB NWE after the plunge in upstream ethylene prices.

A producer disagreed however, saying that producers would not sell at such a price. No benefit would be gained from such a transaction, so there would be no point in giving so much away, it added.

The perchloroethylene (PCE) market had been hit harder than trichloroethylene (TCE) by the financial crisis and feedstock movements.

Prices fell to €500-550/tonne FD NWE and $580-610/tonne FOB NWE this week. Players attributed the drop to the low ethylene settlement and the poor macroeconomic situation. Q1 would be slow, a participant added.

For all chlors, chlorine was becoming little hard to come by as a result of the PVC situation and players were looking to other derivatives to get chlorine, a participant said.

INEOS ChlorVinyls announced it would close its TCE and PCE assets at Runcorn, UK, due to the struggling economy. The company said TCE and PCE did not warrant investment.

($1 = €0.75)

For more on methylene chloride, chloroform, TCE, and PCE visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect


By: Stuart Moir
+44 20 8652 3214



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