Europe ethanolamines prices mixed for November

20 November 2013 23:59 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--European ethanolamines prices for November are mixed depending on grade but market dynamics are broadly unchanged, sources said on Wednesday.

Producers spoke of rollovers from October to November for all three ethanolamine monologues, but many market participants quoted lower prices for MEA (monoethanolamines) and TEA (triethanolamines) because of low demand, high stocks and competitive offers from sellers of Asian material.

Referring to its November prices, a producer said: “When ethylene prices went up, our customers refused to pay more. Now ethylene is coming down, we refuse to move our price down.”

For major feedstock ethylene, the November contract price settled at a decrease of €30/tonne ($41/tonne).

A second ethanolamines producer said that 95% of its business in November was agreed at the same levels as October.

“We rolled over 95% of our business. The reason - prices didn’t go up when ethylene went up, but in the spot market there is some price pressure on MEA.

“Taiwan and Korea are importing more. Korea is low - there are more imports,” the producer said.

Price pressure has been seen on MEA and TEA in recent weeks, with prices quoted in the €1,300s/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) for both grades.

Regarding November business, a seller said: “We have had some material to move but prices are really under pressure these past weeks – I think people are destocking.”

Moving from October into November, the seller said it had seen prices moving down by €20-30/tonne for MEA and TEA.

DEA (diethanolamines) has by far been the firmest grade, in terms of pricing and market balance. This is because of reoccurring production problems this year at a major producers facility. There has also been strong demand for DEA for export to the US.

Regarding its position in the DEA market, a major seller said: “Monsanto is buying everything. The upward trend for DEA is not just a story - it's really sustainable. The US DEA market is really tight.”

Ethanolamines can be used for applications such as agrochemical production, surfactants, personal care and construction. MEA is produced by reacting ethylene oxide (EO) with ammonia. The chemical reaction also produces DEA and TEA.

($1 = €0.74)

By Julia Meehan