HOUSTON (ICIS)--Despite an increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations, US isopropanol (IPA) price ranges continue to narrow as prices on the high end of the market continue to see slight downticks.
IPA market fundamentals have remained fairly steady in recent weeks, as supply continues to be more ample for small and mid-size buyers.
IPA Demand &
IPA continues to see higher demand than usual as a result of its role as a disinfectant that can limit the spread of the coronavirus, especially as cases of the disease continue to increase.
However, demand for IPA is not as high as it was at the start of Q2. In addition, demand has not yet seen an increase comparable to the rise in coronavirus cases in parts of the US.
In the past two weeks, cases have risen dramatically in California, Texas and Florida, the three most populated US states. Numbers are even more dire in Arizona.
Several market participants believe that end-users are better prepared now and still have some supply from the spring.
Another market player said that it would be difficult for domestic producers to increase present capacity. However, there also has not been a notable increase in import activity in the past week.
While supply has lengthened, IPA continues to be hard to find in large bulk quantities, especially for distributors.
However, quantities are available for buyers seeking smaller amounts, and market participants noted that sales allocations from producers have become less stringent.
This week domestic, spot, and export prices all decreased by 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne) on the high end while the low end of the market stayed unchanged. The higher prices are more commonly paid by end-users.
Domestic prices are assessed at 95-120 cents/lb delivered (DEL) US Gulf, while spot prices are 100-125 cents/lb FOB US Gulf.
In export markets, a source said that prices were slightly lower at the end of the month and that demand from Latin America had not increased much, despite the rise in coronavirus cases there.
Since Brazil is an ethanol producer, much of the Latin American demand for hand sanitizer has been met thus far from within the region.
Export prices are presently assessed at 85-105 cents/lb FOB.
US IPA suppliers include ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, LyondellBasell, Monument Chemical and Shell Chemical.
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Focus article by Deniz Koray