12 April 2013 09:55 [Source: ICB]
European toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) contract prices have been predominantly agreed at a rollover, market players said on 3 April, as margin recovery was being offset by subdued downstream demand.
Some sellers were reporting increases of €30-50/tonne ($38-64/tonne) with price hikes of up to €100/tonne according to one producer. But these could not be confirmed on the buy side.
Any price increases for TDI in April were largely seen to be incorporated within the existing price range for western Europe from March.
To reflect this, European TDI contract prices in April were assessed steady at €2,200-2,260/tonne FD (free delivered) WE (western Europe).
Numbers in excess of €2,300/tonne FD were mentioned by a few sellers, but they were not seen to be generally representative for northwest Europe. Prices as low as €2,100/tonne FD for TDI in April were talked by one customer, but this level was not confirmed by others.
News of the reduction in the initial toluene contract price for April, which was agreed on 2 April, had come too late to have any real effect on TDI price settlements in April, as the majority of business had already been concluded before this.
Buyers were hopeful that any feedstock relief will be passed on to the TDI market in May, particularly if demand remains modest or slows further.
Some sellers said they had accepted rollovers, and also increases of €30-50/tonne in April. One supplier said it had also secured price hikes of up to €100/tonne in April, but it conceded that this was an exception.
Buyers confirmed stable prices in April, saying sellers' attempts to raise prices had been thwarted by fragile downstream demand in the bedding, furniture and automotive sectors, and good TDI supply. One customer said it had been offered an increase of €20/tonne from one supplier in April, but had refused to accept this.
TDI demand from the main downstream bedding, furniture sectors in northwest Europe remained flat to slow for seasonal and economic reasons. The feeling is that demand in the area in April is likely to be similar to that seen in March, albeit at a lower level when compared with the same period last year, as a result of more pronounced economic limitations. Sellers maintain that offtake in parts of eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey and the Middle East and Africa continue to hold up well when compared with the more mature northwest European market.
TDI supply remains good, with no reports of any availability problems. Buyers remain unfazed by forthcoming TDI plant turnarounds, stating that they are planned and therefore stocks will be built in advance and that demand remains modest anyway.
In production news, BASF's TDI facility at Schwarzheide, in Germany is due to undergo planned maintenance from 6-29 April.
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