23 November 2012 12:20 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European bisphenol A (BPA) spot prices have gone up by €70-80/tonne ($90-103/tonne) because of shortages in the market caused by a recent maintenance shutdown at a major producer, sources said on Friday.
According to ICIS, BPA spot prices are €1,650-1,670/tonne free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE).
Supply problems became apparent after US-based producer Momentive failed to restart its 160,000 tonne/year BPA unit in Pernis, the Netherlands. The plant shut down at the beginning of October for five weeks, but because of technical difficulties it could not start up as initially planned.
The plant is now back on line but supply will remain tight for the rest of the year because of a backlog of orders at the plant.
"The plant is now back up - operating normally for the past 36 hours making on-spec saleable product," a company source said.
Momentive's liquid epoxy resins (LER) plant is up as well and has been operating as usual for the past week, the same source added.
The LER plant was in a force majeure for three weeks in October and because Momentive could not supply it with BPA, production has been patchy in November as well, sources said.
"People have been scrambling for material [BPA] and the market has definitely become tighter as a result of the Momentive problems," a trader said.
"My sales were up during the second half of November because a number of Momentive's customers approached me for BPA, so I cannot complain," the trader added.
The market tightened further on the fact that Momentive itself needed BPA, which it bought it in the open market.
However, one buyer insisted there was still plenty of material available in the market and said the prices mentioned above are "baseless offers", adding that it could get BPA much cheaper, without specifying for how much.
The buyer said that nobody is buying at this level as it is the end of the year and most people are looking to destock, while December is a short month for business.
December freely negotiated contract discussions will begin next week.
($1 = €0.78)
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