US spot methanol rises 2 cents/gal despite lower natgas

03 January 2013 19:47  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US spot methanol prices inched 2 cents/gal higher this week despite forecasts of a mild winter that have caused natural gas prices to drop, sources said on Thursday.

Methanol traders and sellers quoted spot prices at 122-123 cents/gal, up from 120-121 cents/gal - a two-month low - before Christmas. Methanol is used in windshield wiper fluid, which usually increases in price during a harsh winter.

A methanol seller said a late December storm in the US northeast had frozen rivers and highways and made distribution channels tough to navigate.

“They’ve been asking for more, more, more up there,” the seller said of outlets in the northeast. “Demand from our side hasn’t weakened.”

However, talk of higher winter temperatures in major cities and milder January weather in general has weakened prices for methanol feedstock natural gas.

Front-month natural gas futures have plummeted to about $3.20/MMBtu. Natural gas prices hovered at $3.80/MMBtu in late November.

MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, this week predicted higher-than-usual temperatures through 12 January for the eastern US.

Another weather service, AccuWeather in State College, Pennsylvania, said the cold air and snow would retreat during the second week of January.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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