Europe ethanolamines November contract prices roll over

14 November 2012 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European ethanolamines monthly contract prices are unchanged from October to November, as market dynamics remain relatively consistent, market sources confirmed on Wednesday.

Demand is steady, contracts are being honoured and feedstock costs – largely ethylene – have not changed much since October, sources agreed.

Monoethanolamine (MEA) pre-discounted November contracts are quoted in a €1,450-1,500/tonne ($1,835–$1,899/tonne) price range. Diethanolamine (DEA) is steady at €1,100-1,150/tonne. Triethanolamine (TEA) is also steady and quoted at €1,490-1,560/tonne.

There appeared to be little aggression on either the buying or selling side regarding price developments for November.

In relation to its monthly contracts, a producer said: “Coming from November we’ve seen a minor decrease on feedstocks, but this had no impact because it was just too small.”

“There is no game change to the market so prices won’t change. Prices are stable overall,” the producer added.

Regarding supply and demand, the producer source said its demand was “holding up” and it was not expecting any sharp decline in December.

“There is a high awareness that customers are keeping stocks low. For construction the season is coming down, but others are still doing well. I would say that demand is slowing for fabric softener, but then again this is mainly sales to large consumers – but not ours,” the producer concluded.

On the buying side, monthly contract customers confirmed that prices for all three grades were stable, although most said that demand was starting to slow.

A major buyer with stable prices for November said there was most definitely no shortage of offers of ethanolamines in Europe: “We are not hearing positive economic news in Europe. The ethanolamines market is awash with material.

“SABIC is selling, US material is coming, the Mexicans and Russians are all trying to enter the market via traders. Prices in Europe are artificially high and this is why everybody is coming.”

The major buyer said it expects to see a “price correction” in the first quarter of next year.

Another large buyer also spoke about the wealth of imports on offer, saying that it was not interested in spot volumes.

Describing its current market position, the major buyer said: “Business on average is nothing great. Producers want to prevent prices from coming down and [the producers said] they do not expect any major price movements moving into the first quarter.”

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

MEA is produced by reacting ethylene oxide (EO) with ammonia. The chemical reaction also produces DEA and TEA. The ratio can be controlled by changing the stoiciometry of the reactants.

($1 = €0.79)

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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