Europe October ethanolamines contract prices steady to firm

24 October 2012 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European ethanolamine monthly contract prices are steady to firm in October, although the spot market remains under pressure from imports, sources said on Wednesday.

Monoethanolamine (MEA) is quoted in a €1,450-1,500/tonne ($1,883–$1,948/tonne) price range for October monthly contracts. Diethanolamine (DEA) is valued at €1,100-1,150/tonne, while triethanolamine (TEA) is quoted at €1,490-1,560/tonne for October.

Despite various outages that have taken place, or are still underway in Europe, monthly buyers say that contracts are being honoured and have not felt any market tightness.

AkzoNobel has been slowly ramping up its ethanolamines plant in Stenungsund, Sweden, following a three-week outage, while INEOS Oxide remains in a planned turnaround at its ethanolamines facility in Lavera, France.

In addition, Russia-based Sintez is now running at full rates following intermittent production problems in Dzerzhinsk since June this year.

Because of the various outages, a European producer described its DEA demand as “strong”.

“There is an effect in the market and we’ve seen a strong pick up on DEA. If buyers come to us it’s because INEOS is out. We also see this for MEA and TEA, but not to the same extent,” the producer source said.

“The shutdowns are being felt, but I would describe the market as balanced,” he added.

Another producer described its demand as “not too bad” and a “little better” than September.

On the buying side, an MEA monthly contract buyer quoted €1,440-1.450/tonne as its October price.

“I’ve not seen much change this month, maybe a little bit of a slowdown in demand,” the buyer said.

Meanwhile, a major producer said it was not selling MEA below €1,500/tonne in October. For DEA the producer quoted €1,200/tonne as its lowest price and quoted TEA at €1,550-1,560/tonne.

“We sold DEA at €1,340/tonne for an urgent delivery,” the major producer said.

The producer described its stock position as “very short” adding that it was “over run” with enquiries and new business.

Although contract partners described a steady month in terms of pricing, the spot market remains under pressure from competitively-priced imports currently being offered in Europe from Asia and the US.

Off-spec TEA is on offer below €1,300/tonne FD, many market sources confirm.

“It’s possible to get off-spec material below €1,300/tonne and I am offered material from Thailand and South America,” said one buyer.

A major producer, now importing material into Europe from the Middle East said that it was offering spot material for November at the same levels as October.

“We are rolling over our prices from October to November,” the producer said.

The producer quoted €1,400-1,410/tonne FD for MEA, €1,100/tonne for DEA and €1,450-1,460/tonne for TEA. This was all on a spot basis.

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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