Europe polyols May contract prices lower on costs, demand

08 May 2013 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European polyol contract prices have been pressured lower in May on feedstock cost relief, reasonable-to-soft demand and good supply, market players said on Wednesday.

Slabstock conventional flexible polyols have been subject to larger price reductions than sucrose rigid polyols as the former are more susceptible to fluctuations in upstream propylene and ethylene contract prices.

Demand is soft in the main downstream bedding, furniture and automotive sectors and flexible polyol supply is plentiful.

Flexible polyol demand is muted amid ongoing economic constraints and low seasonal factors – particularly in the downstream bedding and furniture sector.

Slabstock conventional flexible polyols have been assessed down by €50-60/tonne ($66-79/tonne) in May, taking values to €1,720-1,810/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), according to ICIS.

Larger price drops of €70/tonne and lower price decreases of €10-40/tonne were heard but not widely confirmed.

Numbers below the flexible polyol range in May were mentioned in a few cases, but there was insufficient market confirmation to substantiate this.

Monthly base rigid sucrose polyol business showed average decreases of €30/tonne in May, with any rollovers largely incorporated within the range.

As a result, prices have been assessed at €1,980-2,050/tonne FD NWE. There were also numbers below this level – particularly in eastern Europe amid strong competition - but these were not seen to be representative for northwest Europe.

Rigid polyol prices are less affected by olefin price pressure, because they also contain other feedstocks. In addition, the relief in olefin costs is being weighed against fairly balanced market conditions and a slight seasonal uptick in demand from the downstream construction sector.

Lower price reductions of €10/tonne were heard on one occasion, but not widely confirmed. A proportion of rigid polyol business is also quarterly and fixed for the rest of the secind quarter, so prices have rolled over into May.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Heidi Finch
+44 20 8652 3214

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