China amines seen subdued; no price boost from feedstock EO

14 February 2014 02:17 Source:ICIS News

By Felicia Loo

China amines seen subdued; no price boost from feedstock EOSINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s ethanolamines prices are likely to be subdued, with no upside expected to come from feedstock ethylene (EO), market participants said on Friday.

Domestic ethanolamines prices closely track the movement of EO prices, they said.

Drummed monoethanolamines (MEA) and diethanolamines (DEA) prices in China were assessed stable in the week ended 12 February at $1,350-1,450/tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) China and at $1,410-1,560/tonne CIF China, respectively, according to ICIS data.

Domestic triethanolamines (TEA) prices, on the other hand, rose by $20/tonne at the high-end  of the price range to $1,410-1,610/tonne CIF China, with all the three grades reflecting the prevailing market discussions and trades heard, the data showed.

“The market is full of sellers but demand is dull,” said one market participant in eastern China.

Trading was thin as most factories are expected to remain shuttered until the end of the week because of the Chinese New Year period.

Reflecting weak consumption, southeast Asian MEA cargoes in drummed packaging changed hands at $1,350/tonne CIF China, or equivalent to $1,380/tonne CIF China after normalising the prices to a zero anti-dumping duty (ADD) and a 6.5% import duty basis.

The deals for drummed DEA material from southeast Asia were done at $1,400/tonne CIF China. This was equivalent to $1,430/tonne CIF China, after normalisation to a zero ADD and a 6.5% import duty basis.

Meanwhile, southeast Asia-origin TEA in drummed packaging was done at $1,570/tonne CIF China, or the equivalent to $1,610/tonne CIF China after normalisation to a zero ADD and a 6.5% import duty basis.

The deals mentioned are for February shipments.

By contrast, the deals done for January were mostly higher. The deals for drummed southeast Asian MEA cargoes were transacted at $1,370/tonne CIF China, or equivalent to $1,400/tonne CIF China after normalizing the prices to a zero ADD and a 6.5% import duty basis.

Drummed DEA material from southeast Asia changed hands at $1,400-1,450/tonne CIF China. This was equivalent to $1,430-1,480/tonne CIF China, after normalisation to a zero ADD and a 6.5% import duty basis.

Southeast-Asia-origin TEA in drummed packaging was heard done at $1,550/tonne CIF China. This was equivalent to $1,590/tonne CIF China after normalisation to a zero ADD and a 6.5% import duty basis.

Receding prices fetched in recent trades underscore the bearish market conditions, the market participants said.

Potentially driving down the prices of feedstock EO is the weakening ethylene market. Spot ethylene prices were assessed at $1,470-1,500/tonne CFR NE (northeast) Asia on 7 February, down by $10/tonne at the low-end of the range compared with the previous week, paring down bullish gains seen a few weeks ago, ICIS data showed.

In the local Chinese market, ethanolamines production is back to normal, market participants said.

South Korea’s Lotte Chemical is running its 50,000 tonne/year ethanolamines plant at Jiaxin city in China at 60% of capacity following a regular turnaround. The plant was restarted on 30 January, after having been taken off line on 10 January as scheduled.

“There is ample supply of EO. Prices of EO will not rise any further as such. Moreover, the supply of ethanolamines is more than adequate in China,” said another Chinese market player.

China’s domestic MEA discussions and trades were assessed unchanged in the week ended 12 February at yuan (CNY) 11,000-12,000/tonne ($1,815-1,980/tonne) EXWH (ex-warehouse).

Price discussions for DEA were assessed at CNY11,500-12,400/tonne EXWH, compared with CNY11,800-12,500/tonne EXWH previously. TEA price discussions fell by CNY200/tonne at the high end to CNY12,300-13,000/tonne EXWH.

EO prices in eastern China were stable at CNY10,600/tonne EXWH in the week ended 12 February.

($1 = CNY6.06)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By Felicia Loo