20 January 2012 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Participants in the European acetic acid market are considering February price levels, with some suppliers announcing that they will seek increases, sources said on Friday.
US-based specialty chemical producer Celanese announced that it would raise prices by €50/tonne ($65/tonne) with effect from 15 January, or as contracts allowed.
Another US exporter said it is targeting domestic increases of 2 cents/lb ($44/tonne, €34/tonne) for February, which would also be passed on to European buyers.
A major buyer said that the market is now balanced, and while bulk spot prices of €365-370/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) were achievable for January delivery, February cargoes can only be obtained at prices close to €400/tonne FD NWE.
A reseller based in eastern Europe said it had heard prices at around €450/tonne FD NWE.
However, a buyer who secured decreases of €15/tonne for its January contracts said that supply is still good, and reported receiving offers of Asian spot tonnes at prices below €350/tonne FD NWE for February delivery.
A reseller said that there are still competitively priced imports available in the ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) region, but was confident that prices in the high €400s/tonne FD NWE would come to dominate the market as the remaining stocks are used up.
In the market for truck deliveries, a buyer said it bought tonnes at prices below €500/tonne FD NWE, and observed that prices are falling in a well-supplied market.
By contrast, a reseller said it had concluded truck deals in the mid-€500s/tonne FD NWE, and would seek to raise prices by €50-60/tonne from 1 February.
The source said this initiative is based on good demand and the increased cost of importing cargoes priced in US dollars, as a result of the weaker euro.
Acetic acid prices for delivery by truck are assessed by ICIS at €470-500/tonne FD NWE.
Most sources described the market as balanced to long, although one major importer reported a strong recovery in demand this month, while another importer saw demand increasing more gradually.
($1 = €0.77)
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