Europe MEA price pressure remains in December despite feed hike

11 December 2013 23:59 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--European monoethanolamine (MEA) prices have fallen because of weak demand, destocking and import price pressure, but diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) prices remain broadly unchanged, sources said on Wednesday.

According to a European producer, its December prices for all three grades were “definitely” unchanged.

The ethanolamines market is largely determined by supply and demand dynamics, but movements in major feedstock ethylene prices can also play a role in determining its value. The European December ethylene contract moved up by €30/tonne ($41/tonne).

“What I see - there are definitely no changes in the market place so far - but you have to take into account its December, so nobody has much demand so that is the other side of the coin.

“If raw materials increase you should act, but demand is low,” the producer said.

A second producer reiterated that all of its prices have rolled over from November to December, while a third expected to see some downward price movement for MEA because December is always a “slow month”.

In the trade and distribution market, lower prices for MEA were reported. A distributor said: “I had to buy something. I sold something at the end of last month - then I needed to buy and was offered €30/tonne below my November price.”

While the distributer did not disclose its actual price, it pointed to the low €1,300s/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

A second distributor valued MEA at €1,330-1,350/tonne FCA (free carrier alongside).

DEA prices remain the most stable and uniformed, with buyers and sellers alike quoting €1,150-1,200/tonne as representative. A producer of DEA said that while its prices were stable, it had seen its demand easing in December.

“Our sales for December are where we would have expected, maybe a little bit behind.

“From a budgeting purpose, it’s a full month – but really it’s a three week month. We are talking to people on prices – but whatever happens it will be in January,” the producer said.

Ethanolamines can be used for applications such as 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.

($1 = €0.73)

By Julia Meehan