US June IPA headed lower on softening propylene – sources

05 June 2012 21:20  [Source: ICIS news]

Falling coinsHOUSTON (ICIS)--US isopropanol (IPA) prices are likely to slip further in June on weakening upstream propylene values, sources said on Tuesday, describing the market as messy because of quickly softening conditions.

“The market is in a frenzy,” one source said, adding that prices have been dropping as sellers sought orders amid waning demand and ample supply. “I’ve never seen it so bloody so fast,” the source said.

Contract IPA values fell by an average of 8 cents/lb ($176/tonne, €141/tonne) throughout May to reach 80-82 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

But buyers said IPA values will continue to soften if feedstock chemical-grade propylene (CGP) falls again in June, as sources in that market expect.

CGP settled flat in April, dropped by 10 cents/lb for May and will probably fall sharply again in June, sources said. Upstream contracts have been proposed down by 8 cents/lb by one producer, although other sources said a double-digit drop for June is possible.

Although IPA contract values typically move in the same direction as the previous month’s chemical-grade propylene (CGP) contract price, the feedstock’s downward trend is affecting current price sentiment.

Readily available IPA supply is also exerting downward pressure on prices, sources said.

US IPA suppliers include Sasol, Shell Chemicals, Dow Chemical, LyondellBasell and ExxonMobil.

Downstream, US home prices fell to new lows in the first quarter of this year, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) said recently, casting fresh doubt on earlier data reports suggesting that the troubled housing industry could be heading for recovery.

Also, US pending home sales fell sharply in April from March, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

($1 = €0.80)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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