HOUSTON (ICIS)--Price increase nominations were introduced in US isopropanol (IPA) markets this week. This marks the first time most market players have seen nominations since April 2020.
After prices spiked in March and April, during the first wave of the coronavirus, prices have consistently dropped in H2.
US IPA prices are still higher than before the pandemic. Domestic prices are assessed at 54-60 cents/lb ($1,190-1,323/tonne) DEL (delivered) US Gulf.
IPA spot prices are 55-58 cents/lb FOB (free on board) US Gulf.
INCREASES SOUGHT; IMPORTS EXPECTED TO
In recent weeks, the price floor of IPA had begun to firm, and the lower end of prices had seen a slight uptick last week.
In addition, imports from Asia have declined in Q4. One factor in the decline was more expensive freight shipments due to higher container costs.
There have also been some production issues limiting supply.
There is a scheduled turnaround ongoing at Mitsui's plant in Sakai, Japan, and ISU Chemical is expected to restart next week at their Ulsan, South Korea, facility. LG's output at Yeosu, South Korea, is constrained following a fire in early November.
Some market players were sceptical that these supply issues were the main driver of price increase nominations since there is considerable domestic production of IPA.
The US does import IPA though, particularly on the West Coast.
On the demand front, coronavirus cases in the US continue to surge, and several states have begun to implement partial lockdowns. However, there has yet to be a comprehensive shutdown similar to those occurring in western European nations.
Market participants said there were no comparable shortages of disinfectants as seen in the spring.
The separate price increase nominations can be seen below.
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Multiple market participants observed the proposed price increase nominations. Representatives for Dow, ExxonMobil and LyondellBasell did not provide a comment.