LONDON (ICIS)--European acetone spot prices have eased in the last week as availability has become better and buyers continue to resist higher offers, sources said on Friday.
Availability has improved over the past two weeks as a couple of producers come back into the market. These include Sasol, which had a delayed shipment from South Africa and Versalis, which had production problems in Italy.
“Sasol has received vessel… Versalis is back and demand low,” said one distributor.
In addition, product is now coming in from Russia, according to several sources. This is helping to ease supply shortages.
Demand remains limited as some buyers wait to see what pricing is like into March.
“Acetone demand is still waiting... We have a lot of request from distributors and traders but offer them €1,050/tonne FCA [free carrier], so far nobody has bought,” said one trader.
In addition, some distributors are reported to be selling product at lower prices to clear inventories.
“Demand is going up - price not what I want it to be but I have enough enquiries... All distributors and traders have positions they need to sell in February,” said another distributor.
Most market participants remain optimistic of price increases into March, especially if underlying demand picks up.
“Next week we see another [price] increase. No question - demand will be good,” said the distributor.
“If demand continues like this - [we see] price increases next week,” said the trader.
“If [there is a] peak of demand now acetone will come short - demand for March from end users is more than we can supply,” said the producer.