LONDON (ICIS)--European propylene glycol ether prices were mixed for September, with supply balanced to tight depending on grade.
Propylene glycol methyl ether (PM) spot prices rolled over at €1,460-1,520/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).
Propylene glycol methyl ether acetate (PMA) was assessed stable to soft, rolling over at the top of the range and falling €20/tonne at the bottom, to €1,760-1,810/tonne FD NWE.
Di-propylene glycol methyl ether (DPM) supply tightened compared to PM and PMA, resulting in spot prices firming between €10-30/tonne depending on the starting point.
Demand was described as healthy by sellers, with the expected uptick in demand following the summer period having begun.
Sellers targeted a mixture of rollovers and increases, depending on the starting point and the grade.
Some initial price targets for September were adjusted earlier on in the month due to customer feedback.
A mixture of rollovers and double-digit decreases were heard for both PM and PMA.
One European producer managed to achieve minor increases and rollovers for PM after adjusting its targets.
Feedback indicated that demand was not high enough to meet sellers' targeted price increases.
The upstream propylene contract reference price for September settled at a €10/tonne increase.
Producers are concerned that upstream costs are not being passed on to propylene glycol ether pricing.
Meanwhile, LyondellBasell and Covestro’s joint venture propylene oxide (PO)/styrene monomer (SM) plant at Maasvlakte, Netherlands, is running at full capacity utilisation.
LyondellBasell's production rate for propylene glycol ethers is gradually improving.
The upstream outage has had limited impact on the European propylene glycol ether market, according to sources.
Propylene glycol ethers are commonly used as solvents and coupling agents in paints and in the production of coatings, inks, resins and cleaners.