Europe butac producers likely to target September price hikes

23 August 2013 17:08  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European producers of butyl acetate (butac) are likely to target September price increases, on expectations of feedstock price hikes, participants said on Friday.

“We’ll try to increase [prices] in September,” a producer said. “It depends on how raw material costs develop. [There have been crude] Oil [price] increases, it depends on propylene [the September contract price settlement for feedstock propylene].”

The source said it may target a €20/tonne increase above the propylene CP settlement, adding that demand is sufficient to support a price hike.

Furthermore, forthcoming maintenance may help to balance the market, the producer said.

Despite admitting demand is poor, a second producer said: “We will increase [prices] again because of the shutdown. There is no pressure to sell. That only happens if you have lots of material.”

Some participants feel that planned maintenance will tighten the oversupplied market.

BASF has a planned turnaround at its oxo-alcohols unit in Ludwigshafen, Germany, from mid-August to mid-September.

A three-week turnaround will be held in October at the Oxochimie oxo-alcohols plant in Lavera, France. The Oxochimie complex has a nameplate capacity of 150,000 tonnes/year of 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH), 150,000 tonnes/year of n-butanol (NBA) and 30,000 tonnes/year of isobutanol (IBA), according to ICIS data.

According to a company source, the turnaround will allow for a boiler change at the plant. Inventories will be built up ahead of the shutdown.

However, a butac distributor believes that the market is so oversupplied that the maintenance will have little impact.

A clearer picture of September price targets is expected to emerge next week.

By: Jo Pitches
+44 208 652 3214

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