09 May 2012 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) contract prices moved up in May on continued tight supply, market players said on Wednesday.
This was the fifth successive price increase since the start of the year, according to ICIS price history. Price increases were reported from €50/tonne ($65/tonne) as a minimum and up to €100–120/tonne in May, depending on starting point and volume size.
In terms of absolute numbers the range was assessed at €2,180–2,300/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) – an increase of €80/tonne at the low end and a rollover at the upper end. Price rises for average to smaller volume accounts were largely incorporated within the existing range.
A few producers said they had secured prices above €2,300/tonne FD in northwest Europe, and even up to €2,600/tonne. However, there was insufficient market confirmation to substantiate this and even other sellers conceded that it was difficult to achieve prices above €2,300/tonne.
Numbers below the assessed range were heard, but not widely confirmed.
TDI supply remains restricted because of both planned and unplanned plant outages in recent months, and attractive export opportunities. Buyers are hopeful that supply will ease into June, based on the expected completion of plant outages for two majors, and slowing demand.
However, a few TDI producers are not convinced supply will improve in June because of the backlog of orders, which still need to be worked on following recent production constraints.
There are signs that demand in the downstream bedding and furniture sectors is starting to slow earlier than is normally the case, said some buying sources. This is particularly the case in some parts of Europe that have been more affected by economic uncertainty. However, producers maintain that demand is holding up reasonably well, with no real evidence of any seasonal downturn.
In production news, BASF’s TDI facility at Schwarzheide, Germany, has been undergoing planned maintenance since the end of April, with a restart expected in May. There was some market talk that the restart might be slightly delayed, although this was not confirmed at source.
Scheduled maintenance at Bayer MaterialScience’s TDI unit at Brunsbuettel, Germany, is thought to be ongoing. The unit was taken off line in mid-April and the turnaround was expected to last around six weeks.
Perstorp’s TDI facility at Le-Pont-de-Claix, France, is back on line following a brief maintenance stop last week. The company remains on supply allocation in May, following previous production constraints.
Ciech subsidiary Zachem is due to undergo annual maintenance work at its TDI plant at Bydgoszcz, Poland, starting in the second half of June and lasting until mid-July.
BorsodChem’s TDI operations at Kazincbarcika, Hungary, are expected to undergo maintenance from the end of July for around three weeks, as previously confirmed by a company source.
($1 = €0.77)
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