Europe BPA market pressured by imports

18 October 2013 14:49  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The European bisphenol A (BPA) spot market remains under price pressure from competitively priced imports from Korea and Russia, sources said on Friday.

In terms of spot activity, a normally active trader in the BPA market said demand was very weak and that its prices were determined by imports from Asia and Russia.

“Demand is still weak and prices are determined by Asian and Russian molecules - European producers can't compete with these levels, the trader said

“We hear €1,350/tonne ($1,824/tonne) on the market,” the trader added.

While European producers are rather perturbed about the imports, they have stepped away from the spot market and are only concentrating on contractual business. Operating rates have also been cut. 

One major producer said: “The market situation is balanced, but there is still price pressure and still imports coming in from Asia.

“A big epoxy producer was asking for €1,300/tonne FD (free delivered( NWE (northwest Europe) but I don't believe we can see this price - we only supply to contract customers and are not offering on spot because prices are below our costs.”

Another producer said that about the price of BPA: “We couldn’t go any lower if tried – we are not doing much spot at all. In terms of us participating [in the spot market] [it] makes no sense.”

The downturn in demand and operating rates for BPA has hit phenol demand.

Phenol operating rates in Europe are estimated to be around 60-80%.

Acetone availability for the spot market has tightened as a result of low phenol rates. For every tonne of phenol produced, 0.62 tonnes of acetone are made.

Phenol rates have been low since July 2012 because of the downturn in demand for BPA for polycarbonates (PC) and epoxy resins. Demand for both materials is largely linked to GDP.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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