Europe March EO prices up by €71/tonne on higher ethylene

16 March 2012 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European March ethylene oxide (EO) contract prices were assessed up by €71/tonne ($93/tonne) by ICIS on Friday, based on the rise in the March ethylene contract.

Market participants confirmed that formula-based March EO contract prices have risen by this amount, with freely negotiated contract prices matching this increase.

March EO contract prices were assessed at €1,385–1,552/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) and €1,425–1,582/tonne FD MED (Mediterranean).

The hikes are based on the €86/tonne hike in the March ethylene contract, as ethylene is the principal feedstock for EO.

Formula-based EO prices usually comprise 80-85% of the change in the monthly ethylene price, with 82% taken as a representative average.

Freely negotiated contracts have tracked formula-based prices closely since the beginning of the year.

Sources were divided on the extent to which availability has been impacted by recent production issues at Dutch petrochemical major Shell and Switzerland-headquartered firm INEOS.

One buyer said that securing EO has become a problem recently, but added that it has not been forced to cut back on its own operations.

A producer said it had received some extra orders, while another buyer described the market as well-supplied.

Demand remains stable and lacklustre overall, with strong offtake for certain applications compensating for weaker demand in other areas.

Sources said that demand for agro-chemicals and surfactants is continuing to outperform applications linked to the construction industry.

European EO producers include Shell, INEOS Oxide, BASF, Clariant, Sasol, Dow, IQA, PKN Orlen and AkzoNobel.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Samuel Weatherlake
+44 20 8652 3214

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