Price and market trends: Some July increases for Europe oxo-alcohols, overall trend steady

24 July 2014 11:23 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

Uplift caused by fourth month of feedstock propylene increases whilst sales volumes remain healthy

Participants in the European oxo-alcohols market confirmed on 16 July that prices were rolled over or increased slightly for July in most cases. This follows the €15/tonne increase in the propylene contract, which represents the fourth successive rise in feedstock costs.

Producers’ attempts to raise their oxo-alcohols prices met strong resistance from buyers, who cited continuing good availability.

One producer said it had finalised its July n-butanol (NBA) prices at a mixture of rollovers and increases of €20-30/tonne, but noted that its prices remained within the range of €1,100-1,150/tonne FD (free delivered). July sales volumes are healthy, the source said, having increased from June.

Another producer that achieved moderate increases for July said demand is good and it is operating its plant at high rates. The seller added that it had received bids from overseas consumers, but not at particularly attractive levels.

A third producer said its freely negotiated prices were rolled over this month. The source said that its own requirements have increased, and it expects demand to hold steady into August.

It is difficult to compete against Asian and US material, the seller noted, while prices in Turkey have fallen in response to numerous offers of product into the region.

A fourth producer said it had raised prices for customers in eastern Europe by €20/tonne, bringing them more into line with northwest Europe levels. The source said it is receiving more enquiries than usual from that region.

A Russian supplier described stable prices and lacklustre demand in northwest Europe.

Spot prices were reported at €1,040-1,050/tonne FD NWE (northwest Europe) for NBA and €960-970/tonne FD NWE for isobutanol (IBA) by a fifth producer, who indicated a downward trend. However, these prices were well below the levels noted by other market participants.

By Samuel Weatherlake