19 March 2014 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) contract prices have largely softened in March on the back of plentiful supply and strong competition, market players said on Wednesday.
Price reductions mostly around €20-30/tonne were largely in keeping with the absolute values heard for the month. To reflect this, March contract prices were assessed at €2,030-2,100/tonne FD (free delivered) W Europe, according to ICIS.
There were also some rollovers, according to a few sources, particularly on the sell-side but there was insufficient confirmation to show this as a general market trend.
Smaller price decreases of €10/tonne and larger drops of €40-50/tonne were also mentioned but not widely confirmed.
One buyer said it had received a price drop of €50/tonne for its larger volume contract business in March, but acknowledged that its smaller volume business had seen reductions of up to €20/tonne, as well as a price rollover.
The ICIS range refers to average-to-small volume players only, who typically purchase 1,000-8,000 tonnes/year, according to the ICIS methodology.
There were prices below €2,000/tonne FD W. Europe in a few cases, but they were seen to be typically for large volume consumers and therefore not within the ICIS assessment basis.
The market remains well supplied on the back of general good plant reliability, talk of some imports from Asia and satisfactory-to-slower demand in northwest Europe.
Consumption in the main downstream bedding and furniture sectors was sluggish amid some ongoing economic constraints in parts of Europe continuing to limit consumer confidence and spending, said several buying sources.
They noted that there were also some talk of signs of seasonal slowdown in northwest Europe, although this has been contested by a few manufacturers.
Some producers said they saw healthy demand across Europe in March and one added that the same applied for exports. It said it had not seen any evidence of a seasonal lull in demand, but in contrast it noted a pick-up in activity in eastern Europe, Russia, Africa and the Americas.
One buyer noted that its demand in eastern Europe remains stable with no sign of any softening in activity. It said that while there is a seasonal decrease in demand in parts of northwest Europe, this is limited and demand still remains good and above the same period last year.
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