15 March 2011 11:26 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan’s Nippon Nyukazai has halted production at its recently started 30,000 tonne/year butyl glycol ether (BGE) plant in Kashima, Ibaraki prefecture, following the massive earthquake on 11 March, a source close to the company said on Tuesday.
This has worsened the existing supply crunch in the region.
There are two major BGE producers in Japan - Nippon Nyukazai and Kyowa Hakko.
While Kyowa Hakko was already undergoing a planned turnaround, the earthquake might delay the plant restart due to an acute shortage of feedstock and power shortages in the region.
Malaysia-based Optimal Chemicals was also heard to be shut down, market sources said.
Its plant was expected to be back into production some time this week. However, this could not be confirmed with the company at the time of writing.
Trading activity had come to a near standstill as industry players were taking stock of the situation.
“Things are very uncertain. A clear picture will emerge only over the next few days,” the source added.
BGE prices in Asia may set a fresh record high of $2,000/tonne in the coming weeks, fuelled by tight supply and escalating feedstock prices, market sources said.
Spot BGE discussions were hovering at around $1,910-1,950/tonne CFR (cost and freight) China on Tuesday 15 March, ICIS data showed.
BGE is used as a solvent in cleaning products and paint.
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