Europe acetic acid Q1 contract range assessed up slightly from Q4

05 April 2013 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European acetic acid first-quarter 2013 contracts were assessed by ICIS at €435-510/tonne ($565-662/tonne) on Friday, up by €5/tonne at the low end from the fourth quarter.

The contracts were assessed on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis.

First-quarter contract prices were mostly concluded at rollovers or modest increases from the fourth quarter of 2012, according to market participants. Some slight downward movement was also recorded.

The principal driver for the modest increases was the €30/tonne increase in the first-quarter methanol contract price.

The acetic acid market remains well-supplied, and demand for downstream vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) remains unseasonably weak.

Initial indications for April are for slight price increases, based on the €20/tonne rise in the second-quarter methanol contract and BP's planned seven-week maintenance turnaround at its 532,000 tonne/year plant in Hull, the UK.

One producer said it has concluded spot deals for April at hikes of €10/tonne from March. Another producer said it is targeting moderate price hikes, but acknowledged that demand is not too strong at present.

The source confirmed that spot prices for truck delivery are still in the high €400s/tonne FD NWE, but noted that prices for barge delivery have risen slightly to €425-430/tonne FOB (free on board) NWE.

A trader said it had heard spot prices as low as €460-480/tonne DDP (delivered duty paid) Italy, but understood that €450-460/tonne FCA (free carrier) was still representative for trucks in northwest Europe.

Some contract prices have already been agreed for the second quarter, with one buyer saying it has settled its second-quarter contracts at increases of €30-40/tonne compared with its first-quarter price level.

US export prices widened on the high side as April began, suggesting at least partial acceptance of producer increases.

US spot prices rose to $650-740/tonne FOB from $650-700/tonne previously, according to market sources.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Samuel Weatherlake
+44 20 8652 3214

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