US oxo-alcohols flat for Aug, but poised to rise in Sept

14 August 2013 22:08  [Source: ICIS news]

Oxo alcohols flat for August, likely rise in SeptemberHOUSTON (ICIS)--US oxo-alcohols contracts for August – including those for n-butanol (NBA), iso-butanol (IBA) and 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) – settled this week at a rollover from July prices.

However, almost every major producer informed customers that September prices would likely include price increases of 3 cents/lb ($66/tonne, €50/tonne) for all three alcohols because of the rising cost of feedstock propylene, both for chemical grade propylene (CGP) and refinery grade propylene (RGP).

Demand for 2-EH, NBA and IBA remained steady and strong, buyers said. The price increase was attributed solely to the increase in feedstock prices. 

Propylene August contracts settled up 5 cents/lb on rising petroleum costs.

That has caused a chain reaction that has reached downstream to the oxo-alcohols and beyond.

Dow Chemical sent customers a note Tuesday saying that it will raise the off-list prices for several derivatives of oxo-alcohols, including acrylates and acrylic acid, by 4 cents/lb on 1 September. That nomination includes prices for butyl acrylate (butyl-A), ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A) methyl acrylate (methyl-A), 2-ethyl hexyl acrylate (2-EHA) and glacial acrylic acid (AA).

One large producer said that it had raised prices in July and did not want to nominate another so soon. That producer also expects a September price increase but hadn't decided its strategy on Tuesday.

Buyers greeted the nominations with some resignation and scrutiny. One medium-sized buyer said he doubted that the increases would hold. He pointed out that some other feedstock prices were trending lower, including those for ethylene.

A trader, though, said that the nominated increases would probably hold and that prices would be passed along to downstream customers. 

Trading in dioctyl phthalate was light with little trading heard and in line with recent months.

Export demand for 2-EH continued to be strong with price increases of up to 2 cents/lb for large shipments to Asia likely, a supplier said. It was unclear how increases would be received in the market where competition seems to be heating up as demand softens.

A similar price increase for 2-EH exports to South America seemed likely to be greeted with even more resistance because of price competition there, a supplier said.

The demand for 2-EH for coatings, paint and inks was heard from moderate to strong, according to buyers, traders and sellers.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Bill Bowen
+1 713 525 2653

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