US IPA prices rise as supply tightens following weather-related Texas shutdowns

Author: Deniz Koray

2021/03/03

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US isopropanol (IPA) prices rose last week as the market reacted to tightening supply in the aftermath of severe weather and power outages in the Gulf region.

LyondellBasell and Monument Chemical declared force majeure in the immediate aftermath of the winter weather event, and their facilities remain under inspection according to market sources.

These shutdowns have reduced the amount of IPA available for buyers in the US and Latin America. However, some players said there was still some IPA available for those looking beyond their traditional suppliers.

One source said material was still available from distributors in other regions, as well as from suppliers who held on to higher-priced IPA that was likely purchased during last year's surge in prices in the midst of the first wave of the coronavirus.

However, the material was generally available only at higher prices and in limited quantities.

As of 25 February, domestic prices rose 5-6 cents/lb ($110-132/tonne) and are assessed at 76-80 cents/lb DEL (delivered) US Gulf.

In spot markets, prices rose even faster and are assessed at 79-92 cents/lb FOB (free on board) US Gulf, following a rise of 8 cents/lb on the low end and 15 cents/lb on the high end.

The chart below shows IPA prices over the past year, including last spring's spike in prices.

ICIS Editorial Chart goes here

This week, separate price increase nominations had their targeted implementation dates and can be seen below.

These nominations were sought before last week's winter storms amid rising propylene values and the potential of a high monthly contract settlement, as spot prices continued to soar. February propylene settlements had the largest month-on-month change and are at their highest levels since May 2011.

The separate price increases can be seen below.

Company Product Nominated Increase Targeted Date
Dow IPA 16 cents/lb 1-Mar
ExxonMobil IPA 15 cents/lb 22-Feb
LyondellBasell IPA 15 cents/lb 1-Mar
Monument Chemical IPA 15 cents/lb 1-Mar

Subsequent nominations have since been introduced for the first half of this month, ranging from the end of this week to 15 March.

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