Corrected: Europe Q3 MA rises €75-100/tonne on tight supply, high demand

16 July 2010 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

(recasts paragraph 11, clarifying capacities)

Correction: In the ICIS news story headlined “Europe Q3 MA rises €75-100/tonne on tight supply, high demand” dated 16 July 2010, please read in the sixth paragraph …as much as €120-130/tonne … instead of … as much as €120-1230/tonne…. A corrected story follows.

LONDON (ICIS news)--European third-quarter maleic anhydride contract prices have increased by €75-100/tonne ($96-128/tonne) from the previous quarter due to supply constraints and high demand, buyers and sellers confirmed on Friday.

ICIS assessed the pre-discounted third-quarter contract price at €1,770-1,825/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

According to sources, this equated to a net level of €1,500-1,600/tonne FD NWE.

Several players said there was a widening gap between prices from large suppliers, which had been more aggressive in implementing price increases, and small players.

The lowest contract price heard was from a southern European buyer, which said it had achieved a net price of €1,230/tonne, but this was not seen as reflective by the majority of those in the market.

“I’ve found in the last few days a big gap between the main producers and the smaller producer. The gap is higher than usual, as much as €120-130/tonne,” said a buyer.

Although some sources said that demand was beginning to slow ahead of the summer holiday season, the majority of market players said they continue to see high consumption, particularly from the downstream automotive sector, as consumers rebuild inventories.

Sources also said that the summer holiday slowdown in consumption would be less pronounced this year than in 2008 and 2009 because of the need to rebuild stocks.

With plant shutdowns in August confirmed by major producers Sasol-Huntsman and Polynt, sources said they are concerned that the third quarter would prove to be tighter than the second quarter, despite any drop-off in demand.

“We’ve been told to order [for August] well in advance. The shutdowns will further tighten the market,” said a buyer said.

Sasol-Huntsman’s scheduled 45,000 tonne/year expansion at its MA plant in Moers, Germany, which is due to come on stream in January 2011, will stop production for approximately 10 days at the beginning of August, a company source previously confirmed. The plant’s current capacity is 60,000 tonnes/year.

In addition, Polynt will stop production at its 60,000 tonne/year plant at Ravenna, Italy, during August for four weeks of planned maintenance work, a company source previously confirmed.

European MA has been structurally short since the fourth quarter of 2009 due to the permanent shutdown of BASF’s 115,000 tonne/year MA plant at Feluy, Belgium.

BASF’s final MA shipment from Feluy took place during the week ending 12 March.

($1 = €0.78)

For more on MA visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Mark Victory
+44 208 652 3214

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