AFPM ’14: US TDI market remains firm as Q1 ends

29 March 2014 18:08 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) remains firm at March's end after increases totalling 6 cents/lb were implemented in the first quarter.

A 4 cent/lb hike for TDI was assessed on 19 March, following a 2 cent/lb increase assessment in the previous week, totalling a 6 cent/lb boost for the quarter, driven by a firm producer stance on price increase initiatives.

TDI buyers noted that feedstock costs did not appear to be the major driver for the price increases. Industry sources said that the hike was supported by a strong position by producers, by the view that the number of TDI manufacturers in the Americas is limited and by the challenging logistics for TDI imports from other regions.

Demand for downstream polyurethane (PU) products in March was gauged as softer than expected, according to sources, possibly because of the extended harsh US winter weather. Business, however, is expected to improve during the spring and summer, according to input from industry participants heading into this year’s International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).

Sources said that recent special incentives at car dealers could be a sign of high inventories and weak demand for automobiles, which in turn could dampen PU business in the near future. On the other hand, soft conditions could be short-lived, as business could rally on warming weather after the recent heavy snowfalls.

TDI prices after the increases are assessed at $1.58-1.73/lb ($3,483-3,814/tonne) DEL (delivered) in bulk.

US TDI suppliers are Bayer MaterialScience, BASF and Dow Chemical.

Hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC takes place 30 March through 1 April in San Antonio, Texas.

By Ron Coifman