12 May 2010 06:03 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Asia epichlorohydrin (ECH) spot prices are expected to hit new highs in May due to intensive shutdown plans at three Chinese plants and one Japanese unit, market sources said on Wednesday.
Asian ECH prices had reached a plateau of $2,050-2,100/tonne CFR (cost and freight) CMP (China Main Port) – a 30-month peak - during the week ended Tuesday, after a cumulated $250-270/tonne hike due to consistently tight supplies since late March, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
The stabilisation of prices was temporary because ECH market fundamentals had not changed, several regional producers and traders agreed, with one regional trader adding that sentiment had become cautious because of recent steep falls in crude values.
ECH supplies remained tight for both domestic and imported material. Major regional producers and traders expected further upside potential for ECH prices because of recent announced shutdown plans at several Chinese and Japanese plants.
Another ECH major, Jiangsu Yangnong, planned a seven-to-10-day shutdown at its two 30,000 tonne/year units from 15 May to expand its refrigeration system, a company source said.
“Without these shutdowns, supplies had already been tightened since late March when the downstream epoxy industry entered into its peak production season,” a major regional trader said.
The major Taiwan, Korea, and Japan producers all reported limited export availability as they were primarily targeting the domestic markets due to strong local demand, mainly from the electronics industry.
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