18 December 2013 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Participants in the European oxo-alcohols market confirmed on Wednesday that December prices are mostly stable from November, with higher feedstock propylene costs being counterbalanced by players' need to reduce their inventories to minimal levels by year-end.
Spot prices were assessed by ICIS at €1,100-1,150/tonne ($1,507-1,575/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) for n-butanol (NBA), €990-1,060/tonne FD NWE for isobutanol (IBA) and €1,360-1,440/tonne FD NWE for 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH).
Sources said that market activity is slowing ahead of the holiday season. Buyers described good availability, with suppliers keen to sell additional material this month.
One producer said its sales volumes have picked up following a disappointing November. While this could be the result of pre-buying for next year, the source said, it could also indicate good underlying demand.
The source said its spot prices increased by €10/tonne for December, reaching the low €1,100s/tonne FD NWE for NBA and the mid-to-high €1,300s/tonne FD NWE for 2-EH.
Another producer indicated unchanged spot prices in the ranges of €1,090-1,100/tonne FD NWE for NBA and €990-1,000/tonne FD NWE for IBA.
A third producer said demand was good for the time of year, adding that it had sold out of NBA and 2-EH.
A buyer said that one supplier is offering discounted tonnes at around €900/tonne FD for IBA and €1,300/tonne FD for 2-EH, which it attributed to the seller's need to minimise its inventories.
These spot prices are significantly lower than those indicated by the bulk of the market.
Looking ahead to January, sources were expecting a rollover or a modest increase for the propylene contract. Negotiations were in the early stages this week.
($1 = €0.73)
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