Europe acetone spot prices move down on poor demand

28 March 2013 11:38  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European acetone spot prices have moved down because demand is quiet and buyers have retreated to the sidelines in response to weaker feedstock costs, sources said on Thursday.

“The lowest number we have seen is €1,030/tonne ($1,321/tonne), but on average business was booked this week at €1,050-1,060/tonne,” commented a trader source.

“Of course there is not much product available because there is no phenol production and nothing coming in from Asia and the US, but there are not that many enquiries,” the trader added.

Acetone prices spiked in February because of cuts in phenol production, resulting in a tight market for by-product acetone.

However, demand has since eased and acetone spot prices have come down as a result.

Most prices quoted this week fell either side of €1,050/tonne on a FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) basis.

“The maximum you can get on an FCA (free carrier alongside) basis is €1,000/tonne. This price fall started last week,” said another trader source.

“What is driving it down? Propylene – and I think demand is very bad. There is enough [acetone] available. I would say €1,050/tonne for this week,” the trader concluded.

The dynamics of the phenol market remain unchanged, with demand for every derivative low and phenol production running at 70-80%.

One seller described phenol demand as “very bad”, adding that phenol producers were looking for alternative outlets for their material, such as the trader market.

While lower spot prices were seen across the European acetone market this week, the general consensus was that they may have reached a floor and that demand might improve after the Easter holidays.

In relation to its spot business this week, a trader said: “Demand is pretty slow and my range is €1,040-1,060/tonne. We booked some business at the beginning of March, but then it got slower.”

“Nobody will buy now and take it at the weekend. I think people will come back [to the market] after the holidays,” the reseller added.

($1=€0.78)


By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214



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