Asia etac prices weaken on lower feedstock, yuan depreciation

07 March 2014 01:41  [Source: ICIS news]

MELBOURNE (ICIS)--Spot ethyl acetate (etac) prices in Asia weakened further against a backdrop of lower feedstock prices and a weaker Chinese yuan, market sources said on Friday.

Selling indications from a majority of Chinese etac producers declined to $900-915/tonne FOB (free on board) China this week from $920/tonne FOB China in the week ended 28 February.

The prices of feedstock acetic acid in east China were down by 2.3% week on week to settle at an average of yuan (CNY) 3,200/tonne ($522/tonne) EXW (ex-works) for the week ended 28 February, according to data compiled by ICIS.

Co-feedstock ethanol prices have been on a steady decline since the start of 2014 and settled at an average of CNY5,825/tonne EXW for the same week, according to Chemease, an ICIS service in China.

The substantial depreciation of the yuan against the US dollar in late February also meant that Chinese etac makers now have further room to negotiate prices with their customers because of the higher yuan-equivalent return they can get from their dollar-denominated export sales.

A southeast Asian etac importer said that it has seen a slowdown in end-user buying activity because of the recent softening in Chinese etac price indications.

Methanol prices have been falling, and we are afraid that etac has again turned into a bear market,” said a northeast Asian etac importer.

Methanol is the raw material for acetic acid.

Etac prices in east China have slumped by close to 8% since the start of the year to settle at an average of CNY5,925/tonne EXW in the week ended 28 February, Chemease data showed.

China, the world’s largest etac producer, exported 421,947 tonnes of etac in 2013, a 1.9% increase on the 414,115 tonnes shipped abroad in 2012, the country’s customs data showed.

Major Chinese etac makers include Jiangsu Sopo, Wuxi Baichuan Chemical Industrial, Shandong Jinyimeng, Jiangmen Handsome Chemical Development, Jiangsu Lianhai Biological Technology and Shanghai Huayi Group.

Additional reporting by Allison Shi

($1 = CNY6.13)

By: Trisha Huang

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