US IPA prices rise amid higher propylene costs

Author: Deniz Koray

2020/12/24

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Isopropanol (IPA) domestic and spot prices rose this week, following nominations with quick turnarounds from several producers last week. Now, additional price increase initiatives have been noted for the week following Christmas.

The primary driver for higher nominations has been the rise in propylene costs in the past month.

Propylene contracts settled on 17 December up 10 cents/lb higher for most market participants. The increase is the largest month-on-month contract price jump since January 2017 and has taken contract levels to their highest levels since November 2018.

Spot prices of propylene are also quite elevated. Chemical-grade propylene (CGP) and polymer-grade propylene (PGP) prices spiked in late November and early December but have continued to grow over the past four weeks.

While IPA price changes are often driven by market fundamentals, upstream costs can also play a significant role. Movements of this magnitude are rare.

There is also additional upstream pressure with Shell having declared force majeure on acetone at its Deer Park, Texas, location.

Market participants heard of LyondellBasell and Sasol nominations this week.

Separate price increase nominations can be seen below:

Company Product Date of Proposed Increase Amount
Dow IPA 18-Dec 5 cents/lb
ExxonMobil IPA 17-Dec 5 cents/lb
LyondellBasell IPA 28-Dec 5 cents/lb
Monument IPA 19-Dec 5 cents/lb
Sasol IPA 1-Jan 5 cents/lb

IPA domestic prices rose 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne) and are now assessed at 61-65 cents/lb DEL (delivered) US Gulf.

Spot market prices had already begun to rise last week and increased another 2 cents/lb. They are now assessed at 61-66 cents/lb FOB (free on board) US Gulf.

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