20 February 2013 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European February ethanolamine contract prices have rolled over from the previous month as the market remains balanced, demand is steady to soft and the major feedstock ethylene contract rolled over, according to ICIS on Wednesday.
February pre-discounted contract prices were agreed at €1,500-1,550/tonne ($2,000-2,067/tonne) for monoethanolamine (MEA), €1,150-1,200/tonne for diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) is €1,520-1,600/tonne.
The February prices were all agreed on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis.
As well as a rollover in feedstock ethylene, competitively priced ethanolamine imports from Mexico, Russia and Asia prevented prices from moving up, sources said.
Imported MEA was quoted at €1,380-1,430/tonne DDP (delivered duty paid), for DEA it was €1,080-1,150/tonne DDP and €1,400-1,450/tonne for TEA.
Demand was largely described as steady to soft, particularly for applications closely associated with the construction industry.
Comparing February 2013 to February 2012, a re-seller said: “The market is steady and there is no shortage of material. I would say demand is nearly the same as last year. It’s a buyers’ market and it was a buyers' market last year.”
A major consumer for the esterquat (cloth softener) market also said the first quarter of 2013 felt weaker than in previous years, agreeing with the re-seller's assessment that it was a “buyers market”.
“I would say demand in quarter one is flat and I don’t expect to see a sudden increase because of all the economic reports coming out at the moment. I would describe my demand as below average and I have cancelled a couple of orders,” the major buyer said.
The majority of Europe producers describe demand as steady to soft and the market as balanced.
“There is no shortage of material and the market is pretty balanced,” said one producer.
A second producer said: “DEA is a bit short, but a producer has sent volumes to the US and/or Brazil. [Ethanolamine] demand is really quite poor in Europe.”
However, a large producer sounded more upbeat than its counter parts and said that it was getting “competitive” volumes, adding that globally demand was good.
The producer also said that while it rolled over its MEA and TEA contracts, it had increased its DEA price by €30-40/tonne and was quoted €1,300/tonne by a trader for DEA.
Ethanolamine’s can be used for applications such as agrochemical production, surfactants, personal care and construction.
($1 = €0.75)
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