European ethanolamine views on import price pressure mixed

31 July 2013 12:29  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The European ethanolamines market will remain under price pressure moving into August despite higher feedstock costs, some sources said on Wednesday.

In relation to imports, a trader source said: “I just had a look yesterday at imports stats and the feedback we get from customers is that [named producer] is offering at low numbers in the south of Europe. Beside there's a lot of product coming from Taiwan, Korea and Thailand especially.

“What we really see is high pressure on pricing and this trend is still really moving into August,” it added.

The trader said monoethanolamine (MEA) had been offered at €1,250/tonne ($1,667/tonne) to a buyer based in the south of Europe. However, a market price in NWE (northwest Europe) is largely quoted at either side of €1,350/tonne FD NWE.

In addition, a major producer said it had recently sold MEA as high as €1,600/tonne FD NWE.

According to the most recent data from European Commission bureau Eurostat, monoethanolamine (MEA) imports from the rest of the world fell in May year on year by 23%, diethanolamine (DEA) imports into the EU from the rest of the world increased in May year on year by 68%, while triethanolamine (TEA) imports into the EU decreased by 18% in May year on year.

Although other traders spoke about downward price pressure in the market because of the competitive nature of some sellers offering cheap imports, not every market participant was convinced about the volumes being offered.

“You don’t see the Russians much at the moment and I don’t really see too much material being offered. Imports are always there and can cause some price damage, but there are shutdowns coming and demand is pretty Okay,” said another seller of all three grades of ethanolamines.

Meanwhile, a major producer echoed this sentiment: “There’s not really much talk of imports and it is looking a bit quieter. I am hearing [named producer] is a bit short and domestic demand is reasonably good.”

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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