Solvent trade in Mideast, India at standstill on crude oil flux

11 August 2011 06:16  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Trade activity for the solvents market in India and the Middle East came to a standstill on 10 August amid volatile crude futures, market sources said on Thursday.

NYMEX crude futures deteriorated to below $77/bbl on 9 August before climbing back to $81/bbl on Wednesday following the US government’s pledge to maintain low interest rates for the next two years.

“We have not received any enquiries since last week. Buyers have retreated to the sidelines to observe a clearer trend in solvent prices,” said a Singapore-based trader. “Moreover, we are not in a hurry to offload inventory to India as we can easily export to China for a more attractive price.”

Sporadic offers for acetone for the week ending 10 August were heard mostly at $1,150-1,160/tonne (€805-812/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) India for cargoes of Taiwan origin. These cargoes are subject to an antidumping duty of $90/tonne.

Offers for isopropanol (IPA) were not heard.

Spot prices for IPA were assessed as stable from the previous week at $1,360-1,400/tonne CFR India and $1,320-1,400/tonne CFR Middle East.

Acetone and ethyl acetate (etac) spot prices were likewise kept stable at $1,100-1,160/tonne CFR India and $1,100-1,150/tonne CFR Middle East, and $1,130-1,170/tonne CFR Middle East respectively, according to ICIS data.

There were no transactions completed for acetone and IPA.

Despite steady demand in India, downward pressures on solvent prices are expected as bookings made before last week will reach port in about 10 to 15 days, said a market source.

“Buyers [in India] hold a bearish view of the outlook on prices of solvents, so they do not wish to commit. Generally, everyone is in a wait-and-see mode, including the producers,” an Indian buyer said.

Similarly, trade movement in the Middle East has halted because of the ongoing Muslim fasting month of Ramadan coupled with the uncertainties caused by fluctuations in crude futures.

As such, few to no offers were heard in the market.

IPA is typically used in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical/pesticide sectors. It is also used as a solvent in the coatings industry.  

Acetone is also used widely for coating and for methyl methacrylate (MMA) production.

In the Middle East, etac is used mainly in the coatings and inks segments.

($1 = €0.70)

For more on solvents, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
For more pricing intelligence, visit ICIS pricing

By: Loh Bowei

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