Europe PTA moves down in December, follows paraxylene

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

LONDON (ICIS)--The December contract price for European purified terephthalic acid (PTA) to the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) industry slipped by €3/tonne ($4/tonne) from November, based on upstream paraxylene (PX), sources said on Friday.

The PTA price is now at €964-989/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), according to ICIS calculations.

The Europe December PX contract price was settled at €1,205/tonne, down €5/tonne from the previous month. This was despite upward pressure from Asia, where the December number was agreed at $1,550/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Asia. Weak derivative demand in Europe led to a drop from the previous month.

PX buyers are vying for a decrease in January from December's €1,205/tonne FD NWE, in an attempt to get the price below €1,200/tonne. Anything higher would be a false indication of the market conditions, they said. Others, however, expect to see the pressure from Asia result in an increase in Europe. The outcome remains to be seen.

The outcome will impact January PTA contract prices which normally take into account a 0.67 ratio of the PX movement.

The 2013 fees applied over PTA conversion costs are currently under discussion, and there are reports from buyers and sellers that they will decrease.

The amount is a point of contention, however, and one that varies according to account, location and starting point in 2012. The 2012 fee for PET producers varied, and some sources said that the fee had been renegotiated down over the course of the year to fit more comfortably with the long PTA market.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Caroline Murray
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