Ethylene oxide Prices, markets & analysis
If you buy or sell Ethylene oxide or related products, you need up-to-date global pricing data and the background information to help you understand it.
Our network of price reporters across Asia, Europe and the US enables us to deliver this. We publish their insights in our comprehensive daily and weekly price reports, plus we offer the news and analysis you need to put pricing information into context.
Ethylene oxide Overview Transcript
The European ethylene oxide market is mainly contract driven, it typically moves in line with 82% of the ethylene feedstock movement. The main market drivers are both feedstock based, and to a lesser extent supply and demand driven.
The main downstream sectors include downstream applications, surfactants and also seasonal business, which is anti-freeze and also in the summer season, the bottle sector.
The overall pricing trend has been increasing and firm, and this has been due to a number of plant maintenances, and robust demand particularly in the downstream surfactants sector.
The future outlook for the market all depends on the trade flow of imports for both Asia and the Middle East. This is for both ethylene and its derivatives and how well this is efficiently managed in Europe.
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Ethylene oxide: Market overview
Despite a heavy turnaround schedule, the European ethylene oxide (EO) market has remained fairly balanced because of mediocre demand. Macroeconomic weakness has had a particularly severe effect on the automotive and construction industries.
European formula-based EO price movement comprises 80-85% of the change in the monthly ethylene price, with 82% taken as a representative average. Annual conversion fees, or adders, increased for a significant proportion of European EO contracts, effective from the start of 2013. Larger increases were heard for southern Europe, owing to higher logistical costs and less competition. Some adders decreased over the first half of the year.
US EO price comprises 80% of the change in the monthly ethylene price plus an adder. Ethylene, rather than supply constraints, will dictate the direction of EO pricing. During the summer, EO reached a triple-month settlement for April, May and June contract prices because ethylene buyers and sellers argued over the ethylene pricing formula.
Supply had returned as producers began building inventory after their plant turnarounds in the first half of the year, but a sudden producer outage in August for several weeks is expected to temporarily tighten supply.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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Ethylene oxide news & analysis
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About Ethylene oxide
Ethylene oxide (EO) is the simplest cyclic ether and is a highly reactive, colourless gas due to the strain in its ring structure. It decomposes on heating above 500oC and may polymerise due to heating, under the influence of acids, bases, metal chlorides and metal oxides.
EO is used primarily in the production of monoethylene glycol (MEG) which is used mainly in the production of polyesters and antifreeze.
Other EO derivatives include ethoxylates (used in shampoo), ethanolamines (used in surfactants, personal care products), glycol ethers (used in solvents and fuels), polyethylene glycols (used in toothpaste) and polyalkylene glycols (used in antifoam agents).