12 December 2012 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European polyols contract prices have been agreed stable to softer in December, depending on source and grade, market players said on Wednesday.
Lacklustre demand and good supply have weighed against ongoing high upstream propylene costs, despite some slight cost relief, they said.
Players confirmed a mix of rollovers and minor reductions of €10-20/tonne ($13-26/tonne) for polyols in December. In terms of absolute numbers, flexible polyols contract prices were largely reported lower.
Flexible polyols contract prices in December were assessed at €1,770-1,890/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), according to ICIS.
This represents a reduction of €10/tonne for low-end business and decreases of €20/tonne for high-end business.
Rollovers were largely incorporated within the range. Numbers below the range were also heard, but they were not widely confirmed.
Rigid polyols contract prices were largely reported stable in December, because of a number of quarterly accounts, where prices were fixed until the end of December.
However, for monthly business, there was some slight price softening at the upper end of the range, because of seasonally lower demand and some increased competition among certain sellers.
Rigid polyols contract prices in December were assessed at 2,010-2,080/tonne FD NWE. This represents a rollover at the low-end and a reduction of €20/tonne at the upper end of the range.
Numbers below the range were also heard, but they were not widely confirmed.
Flexible polyols demand remains subdued in December in northwest Europe because of stricter inventory control at the year-end and downstream plant closures over the holiday period.
Rigid polyols consumption in the main downstream construction sector remains in low season, with ongoing economic constraints in some cases.
The polyols market is well-supplied, with no reports of any availability problems.
In production news, Oltchim’s polyols operations at Ramnicu Valcea in Romania are still running at reduced rates but these are planned to be ramped up in December depending on raw material availability.
Oltchim had restarted polyols operations in November. The unit had previously been taken off line in August 2012 for maintenance and economic reasons.
The company has had restricted production for more than a year because of economic and feedstock related constraints.
($1 = €0.77)
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