Europe etac spot prices increase by €10-20/tonne on supply concerns

28 October 2011 17:22  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Spot prices for European ethyl acetate (etac) have increased by €10-20/tonne this week as many suppliers sought – and some secured – higher prices on the back of some tightening of supply and relatively good buying interest in the market, industry sources said on Friday.

The increase comes at a time when prices for most other solvents are on a downward trajectory due to bearish sentiment in the market.

The supply concerns are caused by expectations that Swiss-headquartered petrochemicals major INEOS will be out of the spot market until end of November.

INEOS, the biggest etac producer in Europe with a nameplate capacity of 245,000 tonnes/year, has been out of the spot market since June when it declared force majeure on its supply because of an acetic acid shortage.

Supply from two smaller northwest European producers is minimal, although more volumes could be available by next week. Other sources of supply – including fresh imports – are said to be less available this week. The spot market is being mainly supplied by distributors.

Inquiry levels rose similarly in the last week of September, driving prices up for a week. October has tended towards two-tier pricing in northwest Europe as the market split sharply into bullish and bearish elements.

Despite the good level of buying interest reported this week, industry sources said it is too early to gauge supply and demand for November.

Prices are likely to be under downward pressure from the €20/tonne decrease in feedstock ethylene contract prices and weakening acetic acid prices, as well as the overall slow demand for etac as the year-end approaches.

However, this could be offset by supply concerns if INEOS is out of the spot market through the month and imports remain insufficient to meet demand.

Etac prices are currently assessed at €970-1,020/tonne free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE).

($1 = €0.70)

For more on ethyl acetate visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Cuckoo James
+44 (0) 208 652 3214

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