Price and market trends: Europe March plasticizer prices change little on stable propylene

24 March 2014 00:00 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

Following the rollover of the upstream propylene contract, sources in the European plasticizers market indicated largely stable pricing for March on 12 March.

Supply remains good and demand in certain downstream sectors is improving as mild weather encourages an early start to the traditional high-consumption season.

One dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) producer said March prices had been under some pressure, but were essentially rolled over from February.

The market has been slightly oversupplied as a result of imports from Turkey and east Asia, the source said, while lower prices had been recorded in southern Europe, where demand is low. In contrast to other sources, the producer noted that unseasonably warm weather has had a negative impact on sales of some derivative products.

EU DINP

A second DOTP producer said its March prices were rolled over on good demand and a balanced market. Asian imports are not having a major impact on the European market, the source observed, and customers are already placing orders for the end of March.

A third DOTP producer confirmed that rollovers had been agreed for all its European customers, while demand is much better than in 2013. The source noted that some suppliers are struggling to fulfil their contractual commitments on time, probably due to logistical problems, but felt that spot prices are likely to be little changed from February.

A dipropyl heptyl phthalate (DPHP) producer described largely stable prices for March with fairly good demand.

A plasticizers producer based in southern Europe said its diisononyl phthalate (DINP) and DPHP prices had rolled over amid weak demand in the region.

A buyer of dioctyl phthalate (DOP), DINP and DOTP said it achieved some decreases of €5-10/tonne, but most of its March prices were rolled over in a balanced market. Demand is not strong, the source said, and is structurally falling in the case of DOP.

Another consumer said it had agreed to decreases of €20/tonne with two of its DINP suppliers, but its DOTP and other DINP prices were rolled over from February. Some €20/tonne decreases were also seen on DPHP, the source noted, but the overall price trend for March was stable, and demand has not improved.

In the UK, one buyer said its DINP and DPHP prices had rolled over amid good demand for its products, both domestically and in the rest of Europe. A DINP consumer said it had agreed to a £25/tonne decrease with one supplier and minus £10/tonne with another, which it considered to be more representative of market movement. Availability is good and demand is steady, the source said.

By Samuel Weatherlake