EU probes are causing high Europe fatty alcohol prices - producer

24 November 2010 16:01  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Impending antidumping investigations by the European Commission against fatty alcohol producers in India, Indonesia and Malaysia have resulted in higher European spot prices, an Asian producer said on Wednesday.

Following complaints of dumping filed in June 2010 by Cognis and Sasol Olefins & Surfactants, producers based in the three Asian countries have taken a cautious approach when marketing material in the EU.

“No one wants to get caught being the lowest priced; all the deals we do now are part of the investigation. It doesn’t affect our contractual sales, but there are now fewer spot deals and at higher levels. Right now we are focusing on outside-the-EU sales,” said the producer.

Cognis and Sasol were currently setting the price level in Europe to which Asian producers were forced to adhere, the producer said, claiming that it had seen offers as high as €2,500/tonne ($3,333/tonne) ex-tank NWE (northwest Europe) for mid-cut molecules.

A buyer agreed that the investigations were supporting prices levels, but added that there were also other factors.

“Firstly there is the high feedstock [price], which sets the baseline price. Then there is a premium in Europe – producers do not want to be exposed to antidumping claims and are keeping it close to Europe price levels. Then there’s the tightness,” the buyer said.

The main reason for the tightness was the fact that more product was being sold in Asia, which was partly a result of the antidumping investigations, according to the buyer. “There’s higher demand there, but also producers are preferring to focus on non-European areas at the moment,” the buyer said.

However, the buyer disagreed with the producer over current price levels, saying price ideas were generally between €2,050-2,200/tonne.

Not all participants agreed with the theory that prices were being affected by the investigations. A second buyer, who claimed to have purchased a mid-cut parcel for December delivery at below €2,000/tonne, said the sole reason for the high price of fatty alcohols was the high feedstock costs.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Ross Yeo
+44 208 652 3214

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