Asia’s glycol ethers plunge $50-80/tonne on weaker feedstock

10 June 2010 05:22  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--The Asian glycol ethers prices slid $50-80/tonne (€42-66/tonne) this week with further downside expected in the near term due to falling feedstock normal butanol values and the recent downturn in upstream olefins markets, traders and producers said late on Wednesday.

Butyl glycol (BG) prices in China and southeast Asia dipped $50/tonne week-on-week to $1,500-1,550/tonne CFR (cost and freight).

PM solvent and acetate values plummeted $70-80/tonne from the previous week and were assessed in the $1,590-1,640/tonne CFR China/SE Asia band, according to ICIS pricing.

The recent slide in feedstock n-butanol prices, which were assessed at $1,430-1,520/tonne CFR NE Asia last Friday, was one of the key driving factors to weaker BG prices, traders and producers said.

N-butanol values have plunged from $1,650-1,700/tonne CFR NE Asia seen a month back to the current early $1,400/tonne CFR region, according to ICIS pricing.

BG offers in bulk for June or early July shipments were reported at $1,550/tonne CFR China/SE Asia this week, while buying sentiment looked bearish with indications at $1,500/tonne CFR or below.

Market participants said they expected that BG prices could slide further in the coming few weeks due to weaker feedstock values and also limited demand from regional buyers who were on the sidelines.

Stocks in China were also reported to be high and a further drawback for buyers there, they added. 

“Cost-wise there is room to go below $1,500/tonne as [feedstock] ethylene oxide [EO] and n-butanol prices have dropped a lot,” said a southeast Asia-based buyer.

But some suppliers were also caught with higher costs as they were importing from other regions like Europe, and hence were resisting a sharp drop in prices, traders and producers said.

A similar trend was seen in the PM solvent and acetate markets with buy-sell indications heard from $1,550/tonne CFR China/SE Asia onwards, with some containers reported sold at $1,640/tonne CFR SE Asia.

The recent downturn in upstream propylene prices, and its subsequent impact on feedstock propylene oxide values was the key reason for the downturn in these markets, said players.

PO prices in China were yuan (CNY) 2,000/tonne ($293/tonne) lower from levels seen in early May and touched CNY11,600-12,000/tonne DEL last Friday.

($1 = CNY6.83 / $1 = €0.83)

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By: Mahua Chakravarty
+65 6780 4359

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