Europe ethanolamine market quiet, price discussions ongoing

14 August 2013 17:02  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European ethanolamine August price discussions are ongoing, but little in the way of progress has been made because of holiday absences, most sources said on Wednesday.

“It’s really, really quiet out there and I’ve not done much with my prices yet because my customers are away,” commented one producer.

The producer said it was pushing for an increase of €20-30/tonne ($27-40/tonne), but it may take until the end of the month to come to an agreement, as most of its customer base is on holiday.

Another producer who had been targeting August increases of €20-40/tonne for all three ethanolamine homologues, based on the August increase in the price of ethylene, said it had been successful in passing increases onto its customers.

While the seller said demand in Europe was steady, it added that looking at the wider global market situation the ethanolamines market was in “reasonably good shape”.

“There is strong interest for diethanolamine (DEA) from [named buyer] in the US and this is drawing on demand,” the producer said.

In relation to August price discussions, a third producer said: “We will start increasing from the second half of August onwards as more people are coming back and will start ordering again.”

In the triethanolamine (TEA) market, demand into major derivative esterquats (clothes softener) market is steady. 

TEA is quoted in a wide range. One producer quoted in excess of €1,600/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe); while another seller said TEA was closer to €1,400/tonne.

Major TEA contract consumers meanwhile say their prices are nearer €1,300/tonne.

Monoethanolamine (MEA) has been under the most price pressure out of the three products because of imports from Asia and US, but chatter surrounding import price pressure seems to have diminished.

“There are shutdowns coming up in Asia, so I don’t think we will see so much material offered in September,” commented a trader.

Indeed, Malaysia’s PETRONAS Chemicals Group (PCG) will be taking off line its 75,000 tonnes/year ethanolamines unit in Kerteh, Terengganu, on 1 September and the maintenance would last until the end of October. The plant restarted recently following the lifting of a force majeure in end-July.

In addition, BASF-YPC Co Ltd will take its 76,000 tonne/year ethanolamines plant at Nanjing in China offline for regular maintenance from 10 August. The plant, the largest ethanolamines unit in the country, will be shut for around two to three weeks.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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