Europe acetone spot firms on supply/demand balance, feedstock

19 January 2012 15:37  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European spot acetone prices have started to firm as a result of improved demand, tighter supply and rising feedstock costs, market participants said on Thursday.

“Acetone spot prices are moving up because availability is not so good. Cepsa has delayed vessels and there is no material in Antwerp. Propylene [feedstock]also increased,” said a European phenol and acetone trader.

The trader quoted €700-730/tonne ($897-936) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) as a representative price range for sales into Germany and France.

Since May last year, spot acetone prices have been on a steep decline after peaking in a €1,100-1,185/tonne FD NWE range and have only just started to move up.

In the Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp (ARA) region, €700-710/tonne were achievable numbers for one re-seller this week.

“Prices are up again caused by problems with availability, but I don’t see these problems everywhere. €680/tonne is in the market and our highest numbers are €700-710/tonne,” the re-seller said.

He added that the market was “nervous” about availability and he understood that “large” volumes of acetone were being exported to Asia.

A second trader based in Rotterdam said it had sold acetone this week in a €710-740/tonne FD price range.

Following cutbacks in phenol production across Europe during the fourth quarter of last year, acetone - a by-product of phenol - has moved from an oversupplied market position to a more balanced one.

However, the supply of acetone is shifting towards a tight position, according to most market followers, compounded by major turnarounds at CEPSA Quimica and INEOS Phenol over the next three months. 

This also coincides with an expected pick-up in demand in Asia, ahead of the shutdown season there which typically takes place in the second quarter.

($1 = €0.78)

For more on acetone visit ICIS chemical intelligence
Please visit the acetone ICIS plants and projects database

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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