Celanese acetyl price hikes may be offset by lower China offers

17 May 2013 07:20  [Source: ICIS news]

MELBOURNE (ICIS)--US-based Celanese Corp may not be able to fully realise its announced acetyl intermediates price hikes in Asia because cheaper cargoes are available from China-based producers, market sources said on Friday.

In Asia outside China, Celanese is raising its ethyl acetate (etac) and butyl acetate (butac) prices by $20/tonne (€16/tonne) “effective immediately, or as contracts allow”, the company said in a statement posted on its website on 15 May. 

However, several market sources said that Celanese may not be able to fully achieve the proposed price hikes because etac and butac prices in Asia have been softening in recent months on the back of weak demand from the downstream ink, paint and coating sectors.

“It may be difficult [for Celanese] to increase etac or butac prices at a time when Chinese producers are offering both products at increasingly competitive price levels,” said a southeast Asian importer on Friday.

Along with the announced price increases for etac and butac, Celanese will raise the prices of acetic acid in Asia outside China by $100/tonne with immediate effect, it said in the statement.

The yuan-denominated acetic acid prices in China will be increased by yuan (CNY) 600/tonne, according to the statement.

Spot acetic acid prices were at an average of $457.50/tonne CFR NE Asia on 10 May, according to ICIS assessment.

“Whether the [proposed] price increases will come into effect, we will have to wait and watch,” said an Indian acetic acid buyer on Friday.

Celanese’s price increases were probably prompted by the shutdown of its 1.2 million tonne/year acetic acid plant at Nanjing in China due to unspecified mechanical issues, several market sources said on Thursday and Friday.

A company spokesperson declined to comment on the operational status of its production facilities, when contacted by email on 17 May.

At its Singapore site, Celanese operates a 100,000 tonne/year etac/butac swing plant, as well as a 600,000 tonne/year acetic acid unit.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Trisha Huang

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