Europe ethanolamines market looks to ethylene for July prices

27 June 2013 11:21  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European ethanolamines players have been keeping an eye on the price direction of major feedstock ethylene, in order to determine price ideas for July business, sources said on Thursday.

Talking about its demand and ethanolamines price ideas for July, a major producer said: “June [demand] was better than May and May was better than April.

“For monoethanolamine [MEA] we are seeing €1,400/tonne and for diethanolamine [DEA] we are still around €1,200/tonne. We are above €1,500/tonne for triethanolamine [TEA].”

In June the value of MEA came under pressure from the competitive nature of traders selling imported material from Asia and South America. However, DEA and TEA prices held steady.

Producers said regardless of ethylene moving down in July, they are not prepared to  drop the value of ethanolamines.

“Prices have already come down and the market has been under pressure from imports, but imports are always here. I will not be moving my prices in July,” a second producer said.

Sources in the trade and distribution sectors felt if demand weakened and imports continued to be widely offered, there could be some room for prices to come down again in July.

"For July I think we will still see some pressure from imports – you may see some slight adjustment downwards, [but] it won't be much because the feedstock is not seriously coming down," said an Amterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trader.

"You won't sell much more if you offer [ethanolamines] for less. The squeeze is coming from production,” the trader added.

Demand is steady-to-soft moving into July, and while some tightness continues to be felt in the DEA market, there appears to be a wealth of MEA available. Buyers of TEA said they can secure all the volumes they need.

For major esterquat (clothes softener) ethanolamines buyers, downstream demand is as expected for the time of year, perhaps a little bit lower when compared to 2012.

An initial July ethylene contract settled at a rollover of €1,170/tonne ($1,519/tonne) on Thursday.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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