17 July 2013 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European July monoethanolamine (MEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) prices have come down because of market pressure, sources said on Wednesday.
“For July there is not much to report. MEA is in the mid €1,300s/tonne and DEA [diethanolamine] is anywhere in the €1,100s/tonne, depending on where you sell,” said a European producer.
The producer quoted TEA 99% at “around” the €1,400s/tonne.
Referring to its demand, the producer said: “Volumes are moving okay and, as expected, it’s not great, but it’s not bad either. For the esterquat guys, it's business as usual – I can't complain with larger customers.”
Another producer said that most of its July prices were at the same levels as June, although “here and there” it had seen lower prices.
“MEA prices are slightly below €1,400/tonne [$1,842/tonne]. TEA is pretty similar at €1,400-1,450/tonne. The market is balanced and we are still in a good month volume-wise.
“We are running quite well, but in August we will see a drop in volumes,” the producer said.
Despite the major feedstock ethylene contract rolling over from June to July, competitively priced imports, lower demand and an abundance of material, particularly for MEA, have created some downward price pressure, sources said.
However, not every market participant believed ethanolamines to be under pressure or indeed saw their selling prices change from June to July.
A major producer described the TEA market as “short”. While the producer agreed that MEA had been experiencing some downward pressure between April and June, it saw prices as stable in July.
“MEA has been under [price] pressure, but not as much as reported. For me, the movements were from April to June. I see MEA stable in July, but on a high level,” the producer said.
For DEA, the producer saw it at a much higher level than other suppliers in the market quoted, adding that DEA was getting “shorter by the day”.
Another large seller of ethanolamines in Europe said its prices had stabilised in July.
In relation to its prices and demand, the producer said: “There is always the argument that is used by purchasers that there is plenty of product available, but we’re we not panicking.”
From the trade and distribution sectors, most sources describe demand as flat.
“Nothing really interesting is happening and demand is pretty flat. MEA is slightly lower. The market hasn’t really changed much in the past few weeks, and August will be very quiet,” said one trader source.
A second reseller of ethanolamines said it continued to see a downward trend in prices, having heard €1,250/tonne quoted in the market for MEA.
“The trend of price pressure continues for July and August. Demand is around the same level, maybe a little less,” the reseller said.
Prices for all three grades were quoted on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis.
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 = €0.76)
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