Slight price erosion on Europe plasticizer prices in December

18 December 2013 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European spot prices for all plasticizer grades were assessed down by €10/tonne ($14/tonne) by ICIS on Wednesday to reflect the modest price erosion seen in December.

Some larger price decreases were also heard, while prices for many accounts were rolled over from November.

Spot prices were assessed by ICIS at €1,510-1,540/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) for dioctyl phthalate (DOP), €1,530-1,570/tonne for diisononyl phthalate (DINP), €1,585-1,615/tonne FD NWE for dipropyl heptyl phthalate (DPHP) and €1,500-1,550/tonne FD NWE for dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP).

The feedstock propylene contract price was agreed up by €30/tonne this month, but in view of seasonally weak plasticizers demand, producers mostly targeted rollovers for December.

One DPHP producer said its prices were stable for December, but noted that January increases are likely, based on historically low margins and rising raw material cost pressures.

A DOP producer said it had more or less achieved its targeted rollovers for December without sacrificing sales volumes, in spite of poor demand at this time of year.

A DOTP producer said its prices had rolled over, and described demand as strong for the time of year. The source said it is expecting less pressure from Asian imports in the first quarter of 2014.

A Turkish DOP and DINP producer that had targeted December price increases of around €30/tonne said it had rolled its prices over in the end. Prices would rise in January instead, the source said, adding that demand is very good.

Buyers described a broad range of December outcomes. One said its prices were mostly stable, but some decreases had been agreed.

A DOP and DINP consumer confirmed that its prices had decreased, while a UK buyer of DINP said its prices were down by £15-20/tonne (€18-24/tonne).

Another UK consumer said suppliers were keen to offload tonnes this month, and it had concluded a €40/tonne decrease for DINP, bringing its prices to €1,420-1,430/tonne FD. The source said it had also secured a competitive price for DPHP this month.

The buyer suggested that the UK plasticizers market could see a slight improvement next year.

Buyers had previously indicated a mixture of rollovers and price decreases as large as €60/tonne for December, although reductions of €10-30/tonne were more representative of market movement.

Eastman Chemical announced this week that it will increase its DOTP off-list prices by €75/tonne with effect from 1 January. The US producer explained the increases in terms of elevated operating costs, particularly for raw materials.

South Korean producer LG Chem announced that it will raise its prices for DOP and DOTP globally by $100/tonne with effect from 1 January, citing higher operating costs, particularly in raw materials and energy.

($1 = €0.73; €1 = £0.85)

By: Samuel Weatherlake
+44 20 8652 3214

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