Europe MTBE factor fluctuates on switch to summer gasoline

22 March 2013 17:44  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The European methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) factor against gasoline shot up during the early part of this week as a result of the switch to summer-grade gasoline, sources said on Friday.

The factor was at 1.28 on Monday, although by Friday it had declined to 1.25-1.26. However, this is still higher compared with recent factor values of around 1.17-1.19 in previous weeks.

The increase in the factor during the early part of the week was attributed by sources to weaker gasoline prices rather than an improvement in demand.

With summer grade gasoline now available in the market, one trader said it saw the winter grade being offered at “significant discounts to previously.”

“This fluctuating factor value is a result of the market adjusting to the summer season,” a broker said.

When compared to April gasoline values however, the MTBE factor is around 1.17-1.18, which is in line with levels seen recently, sources said.  

Although summer-grade gasoline requires higher levels of octane-booster such as MTBE, participants remain wary over an improvement in demand imminently.

“I think gasoline is pretty long, so even if demand increases for gasoline it might take a week or two before you see the effect in components,” the trader said. 

MTBE prices edged down this week, owing to poor buying interest in the market.

Prices started the week at $1,236/tonne ($952/tonne) FOB (free on board) AR (Amsterdam-Rotterdam) and ended at $1,218/tonne FOB AR.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Neha Popat
+44 208 652 3214

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