NEW YORK (ICIS)--US ethylene glycol (EG) contract prices for December have reached a mixed settlement amid weak demand and inventory destocking ahead of the year-end holiday season, market sources said on Friday.
EG industrial-grade (EGI), or monoethylene glycol (MEG), was assessed by ICIS down by 2.0-3.0 cents/lb ($44-66/tonne, €32-48/tonne) for December at 54-55 cents/lb free on board (FOB) from 56-58 cents/lb FOB in November.
The MEG market has been steady to down since October, following slightly behind soft price trends in Asia. The MEG benchmark price has fallen 8.3% since October.
Producer MEGlobal decreased its North American (NA) benchmark price for MEG by 3.0 cents/lb ($66/tonne), effective 1 December.
Market participants said that other producers reduced December MEG prices by 2.0-3.0 cents/lb from November.
Diethylene glycol (DEG) was assessed by ICIS steady to down by 2.0 cents/lb for December at 51-55 cents/lb FOB from 53-55 cents/lb FOB in November.
Market players noted that one producer left its DEG prices unchanged from November, while another lowered its.
Meanwhile, MEGlobal left its NA benchmark for DEG unchanged, effective 1 December.
The benchmark price applies to railcar orders, or orders of roughly 200,000 lbs (91 tonnes). Large customers who buy in barges, or 3m lbs or more, generally receive discounts off the benchmark price.
For the purpose of the ICIS assessment, US contract prices represent levels paid by distributors on an FOB plant basis prior to any discounts, incentives or terminal upcharges.
Demand is weak in the US, as major MEG downstream sectors such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and antifreeze are at their seasonal low and the major DEG downstream sector of unsaturated polyester resins (UPRs) remained weak.
However, a rebound in Asian MEG spot prices has attracted increased exports from the US in November and December, as sellers attempt to destock inventory before the year-end holiday season, market sources said.
Supply has been strong, with all producers running at full rates, sources said.
Major EG producers in the US include BASF, Dow Chemical, Eastman Chemical, Formosa Plastics, Huntsman, Indorama Ventures, LyondellBasell and Shell Chemical.
($1 = €0.73)