20 January 2012 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European bisphenol A (BPA) January contract prices have increased by €50/tonne ($64/tonne) to €1,450–1,520/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) because of higher feedstock costs.
Producers are optimistic as January has been a good month with strong sales, and most sellers expect similar conditions in February. However, as yet it is not clear if this will last and whether the rise in demand is a result of restocking or other factors."We have already sold most [of] our BPA for February and there is hardly anything left for spot," a producer said.
Sellers attributed the increase in demand to consumers pre-buying to avoid future price hikes because of rising feedstock costs.
"We have sold about 20% more BPA than we forecast for January," a trader said.
The cost of feedstock benzene is expected to go up again in February, so most buyers are filling up inventories ahead of any price increase.
February spot benzene values were $1,260–1,270/tonne at noon on Friday, compared with the January contract price of $1,108–1,115/tonne, a difference of $152–155/tonne, or €117–119/tonne.
Consumers are slightly less optimistic than producers. Most buyers said demand will not be as robust in February because BPA prices are expected to increase sharply, which will put buyers off purchasing.
Continued feedstock cost increases have come at a bad time for the industry as end-product demand is weak in the winter. Most buyers said that passing on increases to their customers will be difficult as demand is already poor.
($1 = €0.77)Janos Gal on Twitter for tweets on the BPA market
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