08 February 2013 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European phthalic anhydride (PA) contract prices rose by €40/tonne in February, in line with the orthoxylene (OX) feedstock increase, said market players on Friday.
To reflect this, the PA liquid and flake contract prices have been edged up to €1,340-1,390/tonne ($1,787-1,853/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), according to ICIS.
Numbers below this range were heard in a few cases, but they were not widely confirmed.
One trader quoted PA liquid contract prices in the high €1,300s/tonne FD in February, but it considered that PA flake contract prices were on par with the liquid contract level or slightly above. However, there was insufficient market confirmation to substantiate numbers in excess of €1,390/tonne FD for flake contracts.
One producer had looked for more that the feedstock related increase for its freely negotiated contract business in February, supported by what it considered to be improving demand and margin recovery.
The same source reported higher contract prices of up to €1,400/tonne for flake and up to €1,430/tonne FD for liquid in February. However, neither the highest numbers nor the larger price move than the formula one were substantiated by others.
In fact, another seller said that it was not the right time of the year for prices to move more than the feedstock increase.
PA availability remains good. PA demand remains modest as expected at this time of year. The downstream construction and unsaturated polyester resin (UPR) sectors are typically in low season in the first quarter of the year.
There is also talk of underlying economic constraints, which continue to dampen demand in the Mediterranean, a region which has been affected by soft macroeconomic conditions.
A few sellers said they had seen an uptick in demand, which one of the suppliers attributed to a more positive economic sentiment in northwest Europe. Other players, however, said they did not expect to see any uptick in demand until the next few months, with the onset of high season, although this would also depend on how the general economy fares.
($1 = €0.75)
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