NPRA ’10: April Europe BPA to firm on tight supply, strong demand

30 March 2010 16:38  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--April contracts for European bisphenol A (BPA) are expected to move up significantly on the back of restricted availability, firming demand and higher feedstock costs, a trader said on Tuesday.

Speaking from the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), the trader said that strong demand for polycarbonate (PC) had seen many producers’ captive demand rise, leaving less BPA available in the European market.

“Customers are desperately looking for additional volumes,” said the trader. “The price does not matter at this stage. We are seeing spot prices now at around €1,600/tonne ($2,162/tonne), but there is no cargo.”

Delayed restarts and shutdowns in Asia have also limited imports into Europe, adding to the tightness, although the trader said it had seen some small volumes available from the region.

“There is also pressure on BPA coming from higher benzene and phenol prices,” the trader added. “The tightness is being felt throughout the chain. BPA sellers are looking for phenol and they cannot get it. Acetone prices are also moving up like crazy.”

The trader said that April contracts were now largely done, with €1,450/tonne as a minimum price. Many players were already looking to secure volumes for May, the trader added.

March BPA prices were assessed at €1,270-1,350/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

“The current situation for BPA will last until June,” said the trader. “Hexion will be back up by then, and the market could smoothen. However, Asia could still be pulling a lot of volume.”

Hexion started its planned turnaround on Wednesday 24 March. A company source said that the 160,000 tonne/year plant would be down until early May.

Hosted by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), the IPC continues through Tuesday.

($1 = €0.74) 

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By: Truong Mellor
+44 208 652 3214



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