Asia IPA prices hit 67-week high; market sentiment bullish

Author: Yuanlin Koh


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s isopropanol (IPA) prices hit a fresh high in 67 weeks on 20 March 2020, one of the few chemicals surging in demand and price amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and crude falls.

Sentiment remained bullish as IPA supply tightened in the current open Asia-to-Europe arbitrage.

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As the number of coronavirus cases surge in Europe, demand continued to outstrip supply, causing traders and buyers to turn to Asia to procure IPA, some to provide more sources of IPA, while others who were not in the IPA business also entered the market, hoping to earn a quick buck.

Asian suppliers, citing lucrative margins, sold the majority of their cargoes there.

Consequently, major suppliers were already sold out for April-loading cargoes.

Meanwhile, Asia, especially southeast Asia, was experiencing the second wave of the coronavirus, leading to a fresh wave of demand for IPA.

Malaysia implemented a country-wide movement restriction order on Tuesday, with its people banned from travelling up to end-March, while the Philippines has expanded the lockdown in Metro Manila to cover the whole of Luzon island.

Several buyers were asking their suppliers for May shipments, but suppliers delayed starting discussions.

Buying indications in southeast (SE) Asia surged, in a wide range, at around $900-1,000/tonne CFR (cost & freight) SE Asia, depending on the laycan.