Ethanol Prices, markets & analysis
ICIS' coverage of the Ethanol market is published weekly in Asia, Europe, Latin America. Price assessments cover anhydrous and hydrous grades in some regions, beverage and industrial grades in others.
Our market intelligence gathered by our locally based experts gives unbiased and independent commentary to support you making key commercial choices. In addition, there is Fuel Ethanol coverage in Europe giving weekly prices, news and analysis.
Our editor gives their expert view
Ethanol overview Transcript
The European ethanol market is a traditional one, and it covers the two main grades the 99% industrial, which is both synthetic and fermented and the 96% neutral beverage grade which is mainly based on molasses.
The market is generally quarterly based but there is also an element of monthly distribution and spot business. There are also some longer term contracts and they’re typically for the larger volume customers.
There’s also a 96% rectified neutral grade (REN) market which is a seasonal one and typically goes into the screen wash sector.
Other downstream sectors include industrial applications, cosmetic and pharmaceutical and also different beverage beverages as well.
The overall pricing trend has been firm particularly in the second half of this year, and this is due to: globally poor harvests; a resulting lack of imports; synthetic production problems and robust demand.
The future outlooks also set to be firm and increasing. This is due to the next harvest availability, due mid next year in Europe and also the renewable energy directive in Europe which is set to boost biofuel consumption by 10% by 2020. So this will have an additional burden on the traditional ethanol market.
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Ethanol: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2015
Europe’s tightness for 96% beverage grade ethanol is likely to continue for the fourth quarter, while industrial grade should continue as balanced-to-tight. Extra capacity due online in the fourth quarter at Barby, Germany plant is now believed to be delayed until 2016.
Low Europe imports are not expected to rise. However, unusual trade flows spotted within Europe, particularly product coming west from eastern Europe, are seen to be a result of Europe’s tightness for 96% grade in the third quarter.
With Brazil being the main supplier of hydrous/B-grade ethanol to northeast Asia, market players expect a steady supply for the fourth quarter of this year.
Sources said customers in Japan have already started buying for the first quarter of 2016. However, South Korean buyers are expected to buy smaller and prompter cargoes during the rest of the year.
Market players will be keeping a close eye on the Brazilian currency developments as well as local production.
US fuel ethanol spot prices have started to decline with the seasonal downturn in gasoline. The trend will likely continue, as gasoline demand normally falls during the fall and winter as fewer people drive during these months.
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Ethanol news & analysis
ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
Our in-depth market knowledge drives our specialist focus, as we recognise the importance of individual market dynamics and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Over 25 years of reporting on key chemicals markets, including Ethanol, has brought global recognition of our methodology as being unbiased, authoritative and rigorous in preserving our editorial integrity. Our global network of reporters in Houston, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Perth and Moscow ensures unrivalled coverage of established and emerging markets.
Ethanol is a colourless, flammable volatile liquid, with characteristic odour and burning taste. It is miscible with water, ether, acetone, benzene and a wide range of organic products. Ethanol vapour mixes well with air, and explosive mixtures are easily formed.
The two major outlets for industrial ethanol are as a solvent and in chemical synthesis.
Ethanol is used as a chemical intermediate for the manufacture of ethyl acetate, ethyl acrylate, acetic acid, glycol ethers and ethylamines as well as other products. It is also used as an additive to food and beverages.
A large outlet for ethanol is as a fuel, oxygenate additive to gasoline and a gasoline extender.
In addition, ethanol can be used in perfume due to its light odour and quick evaporation.