Buying prompts 4% jump in US spot methanol, but reasons unclear

19 August 2011 20:12  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Methanol trading appeared to be the cause of a 4% jump in US spot barge prices for the material this week, but the reason for the increase remained unanswered, sources said on Friday.

Spot barge prices for methanol jumped 5 cents/gal on Thursday to 122-123 cents/gal from 117-118 cents/gal on Wednesday.

One common explanation attributed the rise to outages at methanol plants in Venezuela, though sources close to the units said they were running at 100% capacity. Sources also pointed to Mitsubishi as a buyer.

“There seems to be no real reason for the spike,” one source said, “but I think Mitsubishi was caught short in other regions.”

The Metor 1 (750,000 tonnes/year) and Metor 2 (850,000 tonnes/year) plants in Venezuela are owned by a joint venture between Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, Mitsubishi Corp and Pequiven, the South American country’s state-controlled petrochemical producer.

Mitsubishi did not immediately return calls on the buying.

Sources close to the two Metor plants said the units were running at 100% capacity, but would not confirm that the producer had purchased material this week.

Both Metor plants had maintenance turnarounds earlier this year.  A source close to the plants said no further maintenance was scheduled until March 2012.

A producer confirmed selling one barge load for 123 cents/gal for August delivery. Sources said the buyer was Mitsubishi.

($1 = €0.69)

For more on methanol, visit ICIS Chemical Intelligence

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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