Europe EO contracts stable-to-firm in May on feedstocks versus supply

14 May 2010 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--European ethylene oxide contract prices in May are agreed between rollovers and increases of €20-50/tonne ($25-63/tonne), depending on contract type, as feedstocks were offset by short supply, sources said on Friday.

Increases were mainly pegged between €35-50/tonne on the sell-side, but buyers for the most part confirmed lower increments of €20-30/tonne, because even though supply flexibility was already limited in May, it was still manageable, they said.

European ethylene oxide contract prices in May were assessed between €1,100-1,136/tonne (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) and €1,140-1,166/tonne FD Med (Mediterranean), according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing. This reflected an increase of €20/tonne for low-end business and a rollover at the upper end of the spread.

“The supply/demand balance is going tight and we expect it to tighten further during the course of June due to the shutdowns,” said one EO manufacturer.

This view was also echoed by other sellers and buyers alike and had led to increases on freely negotiated/spot volumes in May.

However, sources expected that supply constraints would become more acute during June at the height of the heavy EO maintenance schedule. 

Demand into the surfactants sector was pinpointed as exceptionally good in the first part of 2010, in line with general market recovery and some temporary restocking, said sources. The outlook into Q3 was also positive, although slightly lower than the first part of the year, as the summer holiday season approached, as noted by one customer.

($1= €0.80)

For more on ethylene oxide visit ICIS chemical intelligence 
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By: Heidi Finch
+44 20 8652 3214

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