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Updated to Q1 2018
European methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) availability has been generally steady in Q1, with players thought to be stocking up for the summer season. There were limited sellers noted for most of the first three months of the year, however, due to limited demand in the region.
No production issues were noted in the market during the first quarter, although supply slipped slightly in February following increased demand from the Americas, before building up again towards March.
At least 52,000 tonnes of MTBE left Europe for the US and South America in February, with talk of a turnaround at a plant in the US.
There was very limited demand seen for MTBE in Europe during Q1, with winter a typically low period of buying interest for the octane booster. Some demand was seen from the Mediterranean and West Africa throughout January, and slightly more demand was seen in February, with more trades noted during that month. Demand in the US and South America increased during maintenance in the US during February, however this waned before the end of the month.
No real uptick in demand has been seen in preparation for the switch to summer grade gasoline, which traditionally sees more buying interest for MTBE.
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