23 May 2012 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European May ethanolamines contracts settled between rollovers and minus €20/tonne (minus $25/tonne) on Wednesday, as producers acknowledged softening demand amid continuing macroeconomic concerns.
Producers said there was not much room for a decrease from April as the upstream ethylene increases recorded throughout the first quarter had not been fully recovered. Ethylene prices increased by €225/tonne in the first quarter.
One producer said it had held firm and was not prepared to mirror the €20/tonne decrease secured for ethylene in May, adding that although ammonia is a smaller proportion of the overall cost, prices were on an upward trend.
Decreases were more frequently quoted for monoethanolamine (MEA), which is typical since this market has been coming under increasing pressure from more competitively-priced import volumes than the diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) markets.
A wide range continues to be seen on all three grades.
MEA, DEA and TEA prices for May are at €1,420–1,500/tonne, €1,050–1,130/tonne and €1,450–1,510/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) respectively.
Sources said that demand is soft, but stable.
Many sources are already looking forward to June amid widespread speculation that the June ethylene contract is poised for a sharp drop on the back of soft demand and weak feedstock fundamentals.
($1 = €0.79)
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