No signs of Europe NBA spot price hike success

17 April 2009 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--European n-butanol (NBA) producers have been unable to introduce widespread price increases so far in April due to ongoing sluggish demand and good availability, market sources said on Friday.

Heading into April, certain European producers targeted increases of around €30/tonne ($40/tonne) in a bid to improve margins. Others said they would target rises on those accounts which had resisted hikes in March. However, so far in April spot prices have not shown a clear rise.

“The market is still oversupplied,” said a buyer. “There is lots of competition among sellers.”

“It is stable, there is no change,” said a trader. “Availability is good.”

Buyers stressed that overall consumption remained low which meant increases were not justified.

Suppliers conceded that European demand was far from good, suggesting it had generally remained stable at a low level.

NBA spot prices were assessed around €730-780/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) at the start of April by global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

Rather than rise, the top end of the spot range fell €15/tonne with spot prices now primarily reported in the range €730-765/tonne FD NWE.

Some sporadic increases have been reported but these were considered exceptions to the main market.

One positive sign for suppliers is the increased prices possible on the export market following greater demand from Asia. FOB (free on board) levels have climbed $80/tonne since the start of April to $775-830/tonne FOB NWE.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Carl Roache
+44 20 8652 3214

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