Europe acetone spot downward price pressure prevails

15 November 2013 12:31  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European acetone spot prices continued to come under downward price pressure this week, caused by competitive offers and slowing solvents demand, sources said on Friday.

“I really thought November would feel like October, but we can't really keep the higher level up,” a producer said commenting on spot price developments.

“€900/tonne ($1,216/tonne) we can forget. Some on the customer side, they put pressure on prices and some competitors are pushing material out – I don't see the sense. I’m hearing between €850-900/tonne FD (free delivered). I would not myself go to this.”

Although the producer spoke of lower prices it described its demand as being at a “good level”.

In the trade and distribution sector, the level of demand differed but sources all spoke of lower acetone prices.

“There are some decreases – people talking about levels €850tonne DDP (delivered duty paid) purchase prices. €850-900/tonne is the range," a trader said.

“Everyone was thinking levels will go up but it’s not the time to raise the prices these days – it’s a bit strange to increase”.

Another trader said it had not sold a single truck of acetone this week.

“There is nothing going on. €870-880/tonne is the range, but I have not sold a single truck,” it said.

A third trader, however, had moved some volume, but it too confirmed that the business was done at lower numbers than in previous weeks.

“I am feeling there is more price pressure. We are getting some more enquiries – not much – but more than the last weeks,” the trader said.

“Still something at €860 FCA (free carrier) ARA (Amsterdam Rotterdam Antwerp) is feasible. Sometimes a little higher €860-880 for ARA. For the other regions you are scratching at the €800s.

“I would not describe acetone as OK – but it is better than last week. We are far away from OK – even good,” the trader concluded.

Meanwhile, spot prices continue to firm in Asia and are attracting some interest from suppliers in Europe who are in a position to export.

“We’re looking at moving to Asia. There are numbers out in Asia and India and there has been some interest from Taiwan at $1,360-1,380/tonne CFR [cost and freight],” a supplier said:

Cuts in phenol production since July 2012 has meant reduced production for by-product phenol.

For every tonne of phenol produced, 0.62 tonnes of acetone is made.

Although unconfirmed, phenol operating rates in Europe are estimated at 60-70%.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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