European September monoethanolamine (MEA) prices have increased, while triethanolamine (TEA) and diethanolamine (DEA) prices were largely quoted in the same ranges as August despite gains in major feedstock ethylene, most sources confirmed.
European September MEA prices increased by €10-20/tonne ($13-27/tonne), but TEA and DEA prices were largely quoted in the same ranges as August, sources said.
Ethanolamines producers had been seeking increases of €50-75/tonne for September business, but demand has not been at the levels most had anticipated following the summer holiday period.
In relation to its September demand and prices, one European producer said: “Demand – at least at our customer base on TEA – is looking reasonably good. We tried to push for plus €50/tonne but that proved impossible.”
The producer said it did however get through increases of €20/tonne on MEA and TEA, but its DEA price was “flat”. A second producer said that, despite being in a turnaround, it saw prices moving up in Europe. “We see a strong change on mono – up €20-30/tonne. DEA is up €50/tonne and TEA is on a stable level,” it said.
Not all buyers and sellers recognised higher prices moving from August to September; with many saying demand had not come back as strong as expected following the summer holidays.
“Generally there are no major changes. We saw a big increase on ethylene in August and September, but ammonia kept going down,” said a trader source.
“We thought there would be a big change on a limited supply situation with all the shutdowns. There are shutdowns in Asia and we thought this would reduce imports. Then we saw [named producer’s] price announcement so we thought, let’s get bullish.
“In general, we see a different picture between product to product and market to market.
NO BIG CHANGE IN DEMAND
What is not supporting the price development is demand – “[It] is OK – but no big change from August to September,” the trader added. Another buyer and seller said: “I have various prices. Some at a rollover and some at increases of €30-40/tonne. But I don’t see any chance to calculate this increase to my customers. I don’t see a real improvement.”
“We were able to secure some business with distribution customers at the start of the month, but things have gone quiet,” the source added. Despite talk of lower than expected demand by some sources in northwest Europe, a major producer said that demand was “stable” and “on a steady level”.
Ethanolamines can be used for agrochemical production, surfactants, personal care and construction. MEA is produced by reacting ethylene oxide (EO) with ammonia. The chemical reaction also produces DEA and TEA.