24 October 2009 00:58 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US isopropanol (IPA) contracts settled at an increase of 3 cents/lb ($66/tonne, €44/tonne) due to rising costs in feedstock propylene - but a seller and several buyers said on Friday that the increase might be the last of the year.
US IPA prices rose this week to a range of 81-83 cents/lb, according to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing. The increase was effective on 1 October or as contracts allowed.
IPA contracts typically lag behind those for chemical-grade propylene (CGP), and the October initiative reflects, in part, the September run-up in propylene prices.
However, propylene October contracts fell, the first decline this year.
“With the price of feedstock declining, there is a lot of pressure for IPA to go back to its previous level,” a producer said.
“We’re not getting orders at that price,” the seller added. “And with a perception that IPA prices may be going down, people don’t want to buy right now.”
In addition, demand is eroding, customers said.
“Business activity has slowed in October after some brisk sales in September,” a major buyer said. “Propylene pricing dropped dramatically so folks may be holding off, waiting for the prices of IPA and other propylene derivatives to come down.”
Another buyer said volumes so far this month were way off the pace of September.
“Everybody is watching everything,” he said. “If they don’t need IPA, they are not buying it.”
US IPA producers include Eastman Chemical, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, Shell and LyondellBasell.
($1 = €0.67)
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