Europe acetic acid December contracts stable to slightly lower

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

LONDON (ICIS)--European acetic acid December contract prices were assessed by ICIS on Friday in the range of €410–440/tonne ($539–579/tonne), down by €10/tonne at the low end.

The contracts were concluded on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis.
All contracts were heard concluded at rollovers or slight decreases from November.

ICIS introduced a monthly contract price assessment in March 2012. Substantial quantities of acetic acid continue to be sold on quarterly contracts.

Market conditions have been fairly stable throughout the fourth quarter, which has been characterised by good supply and moderate demand.

The arrival of the pre-Christmas destocking season has exerted some downward pressure on spot prices, but no changes were heard this week.

Spot prices for delivery by truck were assessed at €470-500/tonne FD NWE, while bulk cargoes were most recently heard in the low-to-mid-€400s/tonne FD NWE.

Q4 contract price negotiations are ongoing in some cases, with rollovers and slight price reductions understood to be representative of most outcomes.

The majority of quarterly price negotiations take place in the last few weeks of the contract period.

Most market participants indicated that they expect to see little change in market conditions in the first quarter of 2013.

One buyer suggested that price movement is likely to be fairly stable next year. Another buyer described sentiment as depressed, and said that suppliers are less bullish than they were earlier in the year.

A producer said it has no clear outlook for January, aside from buyers' usual need to rebuild their inventories.

The producer noted that while acetic acid price movement is largely dictated by supply and demand, methanol could play a significant role next month.

A reseller said it was expecting a very poor first quarter, with flat market conditions, low inventories and narrowing margins.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Samuel Weatherlake
+44 20 8652 3214

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