Europe ethanolamines demand lower than expected, say resellers

12 June 2013 13:57  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European ethanolamines spot demand during the first half of 2013 has been worse than expected, sources in the trade and distribution sectors said on Wednesday.

One trader described its demand for the first six months of the year as “bordering on terrible”.

“For us, ethanolamines demand in the last six months has been worse than expected. It’s bordering on terrible on a number of fronts.

“We have done less business and the reason is there is less business to do. The major consumers are contracted with producers. These guys [the producers] are as happy as Larry,” the trader added.

Another trader spoke about the first six months of the year being a struggle in terms of demand and prices.

“It’s been a relatively slow season. I don’t know the exact reasons, but I think it's really due to the [economic] crisis. It’s slow for all chemicals, slower than expected, and prices are so depressed.”

The trader said it was “constantly” under pressure to drop its prices, but producers were not.

“Producers don’t have space to move the numbers lower, they prefer to move the production down instead.”

Relating to its delivered market price, the trader said: “MEA [monoethanolamine], with delivery, on average I would say €1,360-1,400/tonne [$1,813-1,867/tonne]. DEA [diethanolamine], I think a correct number is between €1,150-1,200/tonne and for TEA [triethanolamine] I would say €1,400-1,420/tonne.”

Although the mood of the resale market for ethanolamines was rather downbeat, European producers spoke about a steady first half of the year.

One major said: “We are pleased and we can’t complain.”

The producer did not see any changes in the value of MEA, DEA or TEA moving from May to June, despite reports from many market players that the price of MEA was under pressure from competitively priced imports.

Ethanolamines can be used for applications such as agrochemical production, surfactants, personal care and construction. MEA is produced by reacting ethylene oxide (EO) with ammonia. The chemical reaction also produces DEA and TEA.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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