By Felicia Loo
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--A few suppliers of ethanolamines are lifting offers in Asia on prospects of diverting cargoes to supply-starved Europe, where they would garner better margins, market participants said on Thursday.
Selling indications of Middle East-origin monoethanolamines (MEA) stood at $1,800/tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) SE (southeast) Asia, way above what end-users in southeast Asia were willing to pay. These offers were not taken into the price assessment this week.
On 12 February, MEA prices in southeast Asia were assessed at $1,450-1,600/tonne CIF SE Asia – up by $50/tonne at the high end of the range – reflecting market discussions, ICIS data showed.
On the diethanolamines (DEA) front, North American DEA was heard offered at $1,700/tonne CIF SE Asia, while offers for Middle Eastern DEA were even higher at $1,750/tonne CIF SE Asia – levels which were generally not acceptable by buyers in southeast Asia, according to market participants.
“The offers for Middle Eastern ethanolamines are extremely high. They probably want to divert supplies to Europe,” said one market participant in southeast Asia.
The DEA prices on CIF SE Asia basis were assessed as stable during the week ended 12 February at $1,400-1,510/tonne, reflecting actual trades and market discussion levels, according to ICIS.
Demand, on the other hand, remained stable in southeast Asia.
European ethanolamine supply has tightened further, owing to production problems in Russia, limiting the volume that the country can export to the region.
Sintez OKA, a leading Russian producer of ethanolamines, confirmed that it continued to run at reduced operating rates this week for its unit in Dzerzhinsk, Russia, citing a shortage of raw material ethylene oxide (EO).
Limited inflows of US cargoes, particularly DEA, exacerbated the tight supply condition in Europe.
DEA is used in the manufacture of the herbicide glyphosate, which is seeing strong seasonal demand ahead of the North American planting season.
January MEA contract prices were assessed as stable at €1,405-1,455/tonne FD (free delivered) NEW (northwest Europe), according to ICIS.
DEA contract prices for the same month were unchanged at €1,150-1,200/tonne FD NWE, while TEA contract prices for January were stable at €1,460-1,530/tonne FD NWE.
Additional reporting by Rhian O’Connor
Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections