21 January 2011 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--January European bis-phenol A (BPA) contracts have risen by €100-150/tonne ($135-203/tonne), driven by rising feedstock costs, restricted cargo availability and low inventories, sources said on Friday.
January prices were assessed at €1,700-1,900/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), following three months of stable pricing.
The producer confirmed its freely negotiated range was €1,750-1,900/tonne FD NWE.
Another producer said: “Our prices are formula driven, so our January freely negotiated contracts are within the range of €1,750-1,800/tonne. Most of our contracts are at €1,800/tonne.”
The increased values were driven by the settlement of the January benzene contract, which went up by €149/tonne to €879/tonne FOB NWE.
Momentive Specialty Chemicals has resumed production at its 160,000 tonne/year BPA plant and was now expected to be able to produce on spec material next week.
The company intended to have material available for external sales next week, a source at the company confirmed.
Momentive had declared force majeure (FM) at its Pernis facility on 29 December following a technical problem which had resulted in the company not being able to ship BPA, liquid epoxy resins or solutions from its facility in the Netherlands.
Buyers said they had sufficient material but were concerned about availability in February.
“If production is not back to normal within the next two weeks, then I will be concerned about supply,” a consumer said.
Increases in feedstocks phenol and acetone were expected to largely influence BPA contracts in February.
“There is a big probability that there will be price increases in February,” a major producer said.
“I estimate [February hikes of] €70-120/tonne, largely driven by phenol,” the producer added.
However, others said it was too early to predict February pricing.
“We will have to see what happens with benzene and Momentive,” a source said.
Formula-related contracts were now trading at €1,400-1,500/tonne FD NWE.
Traders and buyers confirmed spot material was now trading at €1,900-2,100/tonne FD NWE, because of limited cargo availability.
A producer said: “It is a tough time for BPA. On the other hand, the conditions are favourable for the producers”.
BPA is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. It is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, along with other applications.
($1 = €0.74)
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