US IPA export prices decline; domestic, spot prices steady after falling last two weeks

Author: Deniz Koray

2020/07/30

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Isopropanol (IPA) export prices declined on a combination of ample supply and lower domestic prices from earlier this month.

Export Prices

Export prices fell 13 cents/lb on the low end, and 27 cents/lb on the high end.  Prices are assessed at 72-78 cents/lb ($1587-1720 /tonne) FOB US Gulf Export.

Export spot prices are usually sold at a discount to US domestic and spot prices, except in rare circumstances where supply in Latin America is constrained due to unplanned plant outages.

Export market prices may also move more slowly than domestic prices.

Although the IPA market is not oversupplied, it has lengthened considerably in the past several weeks.  Several market participants have been surprised that demand has not increased due to the recent growth of coronavirus cases in the US.

Since March, even large buyers in the US were on some form of sales control.  Most sales controls were removed entirely in the past several weeks.

Domestic Prices

Domestic and spot prices were stable this week, after experiencing sharp declines in previous weeks.

Due to recent changes, some spot prices are below quarterly negotiated contracts at the moment. Although this occurred prior to the March surge in IPA prices, last week marked the first time it occurred since.

Propylene, a feedstock for IPA, has seen spot prices steadily rise this month. Some grades of propylene are at their highest levels this year. This could eventually place some upward pressure on IPA, especially if propylene prices hold at these higher levels.

July propylene contracts are expected to settle by the end of this week.

Domestic IPA prices are assessed at 80-100 cents/lb DEL US Gulf, and spot prices are assessed at 77-95 cents/lb FOB US Gulf.

The chart below shows domestic, spot, and export IPA prices as of 30 July.

ICIS Editorial Chart goes here

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

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