LONDON (ICIS)--Europe isopropanol (IPA) traders in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region are reporting losses in prices of between €500/tonne and €700/tonne in just three days.
Several distributors have been been reticent to share price expectations for this trading week, some saying the buy side was keeping the picture murkier than usual. By mid-week, things were still as unclear for some sellers.
However, today, traders have been forthcoming with detail on drastic price falls as they have been witnessing back-and-forth underbidding between importers and domestic producers.
"I think people are a bit afraid by lack of demand...we have seen decreases of prices almost every day this week as import containers and producers are reacting to that situation," said a trader.
"It was to be expected as prices were so high for so long; we were a little bit surprised it went so fast, but because of incoming isotanks it's been a constant battle between the isotanks and local producers...In a down-going market you'd rather sell it now than in a week's time, simply economics," they added.
"From now on we have reached a level where we can export to the Americas," said another trader in reference to the comparative cost-advantage of selling propylene-based IPA versus acetone-based IPA in Latin America, especially in a region where demand for hand sanitizers and disinfectants remains strong.
Another trader, also based in northwest Europe, confirmed the lower prices heard this week on the market. However, a source servicing mainly southern Europe could not confirm the free-fall and was claiming not to have seen any significant movement from last week's high end of the ICIS range.
IPA is a solvent used in many industrial and consumer products and as an extractant. Applications include cosmetics, personal care products, de-icers, paints and resins, pharmaceuticals and inks and adhesives.
Additional reporting by Helena Strathearn