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Updated to Q1 2017
Europe’s traditional ethanol prices were a mixed bag in the first quarter of 2017, reflecting a potential crossroads reached by the market after a significant period of decreases. Europe remained a low-priced region and was seen as a fairly unattractive destination for imports.
Tighter availability for beverage grade was described at the tail end of 2016 and early in 2017, potentially grain-based alcohol of a vodka quality. Small increases were seen in some cases for 96% beverage grade in France and Germany, with stable pricing in others.
In the 99% industrial grade first-quarter contract prices, there were mostly a mixture of rollovers and decreases. Slight increases noted appeared to be in the minority.
Factors influencing the market during the negotiations for the first quarter of 2017 included lower crop yields for sugar beet and grains, plus production issues at some of Cargill’s factories at the end of 2016. The agricultural group said at the time that it was resolving these issues.
Midway through the quarter, industrial ethanol supplies in Europe were impacted by a force majeure declared by INEOS at one of its two synthetic ethanol plants in the region.
Production at the ethanol plant at the Grangemouth complex in Scotland, UK, was struck by a technical issue in early February.
Lower quality industrial ethanol of the 96% grade known as ‘REN’, often used for car screenwash, was in tighter supply, linked to demand for that sector returning to levels not seen for several years following a number of mild winters.
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ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
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