US IPA prices see declines as supply lengthens, demand stays strong

Deniz Koray

14-May-2020

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Isopropanol (IPA) demand continues to be very strong in the US, although supply has increased in recent weeks.

In late March and much of April, market participants often struggled to find IPA, even at high prices. However, due to a rise in Asian imports as well as increased domestic production, supply is no longer as tight.

Therefore, prices have fallen from their highs of several weeks ago, although they remain much higher than before the coronavirus (Covid-19) health crisis.

Prices delivered (DEL) to the US Gulf are now 85-185 cents/lb ($1874-4079/tonne), while spot prices free on board (FOB) to the Gulf are 110-210 cents/lb.

Base-level domestic delivered prices have held steady, while others have declined 10-15 cents/lb this week.

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Despite the loosening supply, IPA prices remain significantly above pre-coronavirus levels due to high demand.

IPA demand has surged since March due to demand for hand sanitizers. As the coronavirus continues to present significant problems within the US, demand for sanitizers remains strong for hospitals, state governments and consumers.

One proposed price increase for n-Propanol was introduced into the market this week. A representative for Oxea confirmed the price increase initiative.

Company Product Price Increase Effective Date
Oxea n-Propanol 15 cents/lb 1-June

EXPORT MARKETS

As Asian product has continued to arrive in western Europe, US exports to Europe have decreased significantly in both volume and price. Domestic producers also have more incentive to keep IPA domestically due to robust demand within the US.

However, Latin American exports are available, according to several market players.  Several weeks ago, the spot market for buyers in Latin America seeking IPA was tight, but it is now available in larger numbers for buyers.

IPA FOB Export prices from the Gulf fell 30 cents/lb on the low end and 35 cents/lb on the high end. Prices are now now assessed at 100-165 cents/lb. These prices include exports to all regions.

Although prices are still well above pre-coronavirus numbers, exports to Latin America generally trade at a discount to domestic IPA prices. This has not changed, but the spread between Latin American exports and US prices has recently widened.

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.

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