Europe March PTA price increases with upstream PX

20 April 2012 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Prices in Europe for March purified terephthalic acid (PTA) increased by about €24/tonne ($32/tonne), in accordance with raw material paraxylene (PX), sources said on Friday.

Prices between €1,007-1,032/tonne is considered to be a 'realistic range', particularly for the largest downstream sector, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), sources agreed.

It is normal for PTA to move in line with upstream PX, which increased by €36/tonne from February to March. 

The final PTA figure depends largely on the conversion fee agreed between buyers and sellers, some noting the re-emergence of €150/tonne because of lacklustre demand, while others say €170-180/tonne is a more regular figure. Anywhere between €150-180/tonne is generally considered to be the norm, depending on when the contract agreements were settled.

"The margin depends on when the contract was agreed. If it was settled in September or October [2011], you pay a higher margin," a PTA buyer said.

Requirements for PTA from downstream PET are disappointing and PTA production has been reduced as a consequence. The market is balanced-to-long and customers say they are being approached by producers looking to offload material. Some preferential prices are appearing which have been attributed to some jostling for market share, now that the new Artlant PTA plant in Sines, Portugal, is operational.

The European April PX contract fell by €43/tonne to €1,225/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) compared with March and this is likely to put pressure on PTA to drop by about €29/tonne.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Caroline Murray
44208 652 3214

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