01 November 2010 00:00 [Source: ICB]
The US Gulf methanol spot price jumped to 115 cents/gal ($384/tonne, €276/tonne) on October 21, up from 106-107.5 cents/gal two days earlier. The trade, a November sale, touched the year's May high.
Spot prices have shot up by 20% in the past month because of supply issues in North America and elsewhere. But market sources were baffled as to why prices had gone up, saying fundamentals did not support such prices.
One explanation was tighter supply from October turnarounds at two methanol plants - one in Equatorial Guinea and another in Trinidad. A source also noted that Asian supplies had been short recently, with inventories down in China from plant turnarounds in the Northwest region and low operating rates in the Northeastern provinces as well.
Market sources speculated that November contracts could match 115 cents/gal. The October contract range is 108-109 cents/gal. This year's contract high of 110 cents/gal ran from January through April.
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