US methanol spot barge prices jump on European gain

06 September 2013 18:21 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methanol spot barge prices have jumped more than 4 cents/gal this week in response to increases in the European market, sources said on Friday.

European methanol spot prices have increased to five-year highs, at €370-374/tonne ($487-492/tonne).

US spot barge prices have also increased to 141.5-143 cents/gal ($472-477/tonne), their highest point in more than three months. But the US numbers still remain at least $15/tonne below the European range.

“The US is out of balance with that, so they need to make it up,” a trader said.

Sources in Europe provided no single reason for the jump there, citing good demand and low stock levels.

US sources suspected the crisis in the Middle East might be a cause. Methanex has a plant in Egypt that the company’s top executives have said in conference calls is not operating at full capacity.

Methanex did not return a call seeking comment.

Another natural gas curtailment began this week in Trinidad, which is the source of most of US methanol imports. But the market has known about that cutback since July.

($1 = €0.76)

By Lane Kelley