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Updated to Q4 2016
Having been tight for most of the second and third quarters, European propylene supply had a complete reversal of fortune in the fourth.
A fatal fire and explosion at BASF’s German site in early October proved the game changer for propylene – particularly in the inland sector. With the propylene pipeline from the Karlsruhe refinery direct to the BASF site destroyed, refinery shareholders had no choice but to offer these volumes into the local market at significantly reduced prices. Discounts of 40-45% to the prevailing October contract price of €725/tonne were reported, while lower prices were rumoured depending on timing and other circumstances.
The length was largely confined to the chemical grade market initially but was soon mirrored to some extent on the polymer grade market on the back of a couple of unplanned derivative issues. Spot prices moved from contract price flat, to minus 7% and then to minus 15-20% very quickly.
Despite the supply pressures in some areas, a firmer upstream market led to a €30/tonne increase to €755/tonne for the November contract price.
The balance started to return for polymer grade – the low prices proving too hard for derivative producers to ignore and demand robust in general anyway as some players still needed to catch-up following the earlier tightness – but chemical grade is likely to remain under some pressure until the BASF pipeline is back in operation.
Players expected a drop in the December contract price following a fall in naphtha, and it settled down by €30/tonne to €725/tonne. Gains in crude oil values on the back of speculation ahead of the OPEC meeting did influence sentiment.
The ICIS European propylene report is a benchmark report, which means the prices published are widely referenced in industry contracts. We cover the contract market, which is a monthly market, on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis.
This is an industry agreed price, meaning that key producers and key consumers can exchange price ideas and negotiate a new settlement in the last week of every month.
ICIS covers the spot market, both on the chemical grade sector and the polymer grade sector. Additionally, we cover prices on an inland basis, on a free delivered (FD) northwest European (NWE) basis and in the deep-sea market on a cost, insurance & freight (CIF) coastal basis.
Market fundamentals, such as supply-demand developments and production issues, both planned and unplanned, in the derivative markets downstream are all covered on a weekly basis in the report.
ICIS collects pricing data on a wide range of chemical, energy and fertilizer products, including Propylene. Our extensive experience in price reporting means we can offer you access to historical data dating back more than 20 years for certain commodities.
Our time series of pricing data enables you to build and model trends, to get a view of where markets might be heading. The data service includes charting functionality, allowing you to chart and download multiple data series for manipulation in your own internal models. You can also export data to Excel via the ICIS dashboard service.
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