Europe September ethanolamines prices firm following ethylene hike

19 September 2012 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European September ethanolamines prices have increased on the back of the €125/tonne ($162/tonne) increase in the September ethylene contract price, producers and consumers confirmed on Wednesday.

Some sellers felt that the higher ethanolamines prices in September were also supported by a lack of availability, because of various outages across Europe.

“We had limited availability, and another co-producer had problems in August and September. INEOS has also been preparing for a shutdown,” one major producer said.

The producer added that its demand was “steady” for all grades and quoted its minimum price for monoethanolamine (MEA) as €1,470/tonne.

Concerning diethanolamine (DEA), the producer said: “EU producers can't deliver below €1,120/tonne or it’s a cash loss. A major producer will be out soon and you won’t find any producer selling below this level.”

However, three other producers said they were selling below €1,120/tonne.

In relation to triethanolamine (TEA), a major producer quoted €1,520-1,580/tonne for spot quotations, while most prices were confirmed in a €1,470-1,530/tonne range. 

According to most market participants there was no shortage of material available, with imports coming in from the US and South America, particularly for MEA.

“We have seen some [price] movement for sure because feeds went up. Producers need to pass this increase [in ethylene], but we have big gaps,” said a European seller.

“Some producers are being very aggressive,” the seller added.

The seller quoted MEA at €1,400-1,460/tonne, and this range was widely recognised in the market as representative – although in a few instances €1,480/tonne was also achievable for September deliveries.

All contracts were agreed on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis.

However, not every producer was satisfied with the September demand: “In some cases our demand is a little below planning and expectations. There is some pre-buying, but I have the feeling there is not much in the tanks,” said a major supplier to the European market.

Meanwhile, another major buyer, which settles contracts on a quarterly basis, described its demand as “weak” and “bad”.

“One of our suppliers is being very aggressive and is complaining that we are not taking all our volumes,” it added.

Another European producer said demand in September compared to August was weaker.

“It’s been possible to move the prices up because of ethylene, but in reality imports are causing some [price] disruption,” the producer concluded. 

Ethanolamines can be used for numerous applications, such as agrochemical production, surfactants, personal care and construction.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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