US methanol spot drops 4% on market plunge and plant restart

08 August 2011 20:24  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methanol spot barge prices dropped 4% on Monday because of the across-the-board market plunge and also on talk that a huge plant in Trinidad would restart soon.

Market sources said spot prices fell to 117-120 cents/gal, down about 5 cents/gal from last week’s closing range of 123-124 cents/gal.

Methanol historically tracks crude oil, which had fallen more than $5.00/bbl (€3.50/bbl) on Monday by mid-day.

In the stock market, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had plunged more than 600 points at mid-day in response to Standard & Poors’ downgrade of the US credit rating from AAA to AA+.

A trader said the spot methanol decline stemmed mainly from the market drop, but also from news that the Methanex-owned Atlas plant in Trinidad would restart soon. The trader said that talk of the Atlas restart in mid-August meant that the recent outage was not as severe as some thought.

The trader also said the plant’s expected turnaround later this year, instead of in September as had been announced, meant that most of the major plants in the Americas are in operation or soon will be operating.

“There’s lots of high-priced methanol owned by traders sitting around,” the trader said.

The drop comes as a correction to a jump up in spot prices that accompanied the 10-11 cents/gal increase in the August contract when it was announced at the end of July. The jump also followed another curtailment of the natural gas supply in Trinidad.

($1 = €0.70)

For more on methanol, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Lane Kelley
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