Europe oxo-alcohols prices likely to roll over on stable propylene

26 February 2014 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The settlement of the March propylene contract price at a rollover this week is likely to be reflected in stable oxo-alcohols pricing next month, market participants said on Wednesday.

Oxo-alcohols spot prices were assessed by ICIS on Wednesday at €1,110-1,160/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) for n-butanol (NBA), €1,000-1,060/tonne FD NWE for isobutanol (IBA) and €1,390-1,440/tonne FD NWE for 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH).

Seasonal demand usually begins to improve in March/April, although this is dependent to some extent on weather conditions, which have been quite mild so far this year.

One producer said that demand was good in February, and it expected this to continue into March. Prices would probably roll over, the source said, as neither buyers nor sellers have any justification to make changes.

A second producer described a balanced market and said it expects no changes in March, even though sellers are attempting to raise prices. IBA demand improved slightly in February, the source said, but remains weak overall, while margins are unsatisfactory.

A third producer said demand is quite strong, and while it is targeting modest price increases for March, it would be satisfied with rollovers. The source said it is short of product and has consequently refused several requests for export material.

A fourth producer reported spot prices at €1,060-1,070/tonne FD NWE for NBA and €1,000-1,010/tonne FD NWE for IBA, down by €30/tonne and €20/tonne respectively from two weeks ago.

In the case of NBA, this is below the level that most sources have indicated in recent weeks and is not believed to be representative of the market.

A 2-EH buyer said its prices increased slightly in February and are in the low €1,300s/tonne FD for bulk deliveries, with a rollover being the most likely outcome for March. The source said that demand is flat and the market is oversupplied.

A Turkish buyer of 2-EH said its February prices increased by €40-50/tonne to around €1,200/tonne FD Turkey.

One reseller said that producers are aiming for small price increases in March, but rollovers would be a fairer outcome.

A second reseller said it does not see any opportunities at present for selling Asian NBA imports into Europe.

By: Samuel Weatherlake
+44 20 8652 3214

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