14 September 2013 00:01 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Spot prices of European methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) have risen because of tighter supply after South Africa–headquartered chemicals major Sasol declared a force majeure on its 65,000 tonne/year MEK plant in Moers, Germany, sources said on Friday.
The recent firming up of prices of feedstock naphtha also contributed to the increase in MEK prices.
Spot MEK prices rose by €20/tonne at the low and high end to reach €1,170-1,200/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).
The force majeure was declared on Tuesday, 10 September.
Sasol said it was "due to an unforeseen technical problem in the reactor section". The company is carrying out inspection and maintenance work ahead of a planned restart next week.
Some buyers said MEK suppliers should not raise prices excessively because demand remains poor due to the weak macroeconomic environment.
A distributor said it was able to sell only partial truckloads of MEK this week, instead of full truckloads. “We would have expected September demand to increase. But the market is quiet and demand is low, similar to levels in August,” the distributor said.
A trader estimates that spot prices could rise by up to €60/tonne next week as a result of Sasol's force majeure.
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