US IPA prices remain relatively stable as strong demand continues

Deniz Koray


HOUSTON (ICIS)–US isopropanol (IPA) prices remain much higher than traditional levels, even as supply of supply is loosening slightly due to a rise in Asian imports as well as increased domestic production.

IPA prices delivered (DEL) to the US Gulf are assessed at 85-215 cents/lb ($1,874-$4740/tonne).  Prices are unchanged on the lower end of the market while down 15 cents/lb ($330/tonne) on the higher end.

Domestic spot prices FOB to the US Gulf  are 125-250 cents/lb, a decrease of 5 cents/lb on the low end and 25 cents/lb down on the high end.

Although the high end of the market is not seeing prices quite as high as two weeks ago, prices are still significantly more expensive than in January or early February due to the demand for hand sanitizers during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Despite propylene contracts and spot prices falling, the medical needs for isopropyl alcohol have been so high that feedstock prices have had little correlation with IPA prices since late February or early March.

Domestic IPA Market

While the IPA market could be described as being two-tiered in previous weeks – with some large buyers, traders and end users buying product at the low-end, while many others were paying at the high-end of the price range -this is beginning to change.

There are now multiple tiers, with a smaller amount paying the highest prices, but a larger percentage paying less than $2.50/lb but significantly more than 80 cents/lb.

A market participant said that there were fewer deals involving multiple players. In recent weeks, there have been attempts to reduce middlemen and sell directly to end users, which has partially slowed down the time for transactions to occur.

Imports from China have been increasing recently, including for buyers interested in lower volumes.

While demand is highest for IPA that is either available promptly or in early May, there is already healthy demand for IPA that will be delivered in June or even early July.

This week, there was one price increase initiative that was introduced and can be seen below. DOW did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Company Product Price Increase Effective Date
DOW Isopropanol 10 cents/lb 1-May

US IPA suppliers include ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, LyondellBasell, Monument Chemical and Shell Chemical.

Visit the ICIS coronavirus topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news.

Visit the ICIS coronavirus topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news.


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