Price and market trends: Europe oxo-alcohols buyers resist hikes

13 December 2013 15:03 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

One producer said it announced a December increase of about €20/tonne, but was encountering strong resistance

December will be a difficult month in which to pass on higher feedstock costs owing to the approach of the end-of-year holiday season, European oxo-alcohols producers said.

The propylene contract price for December was settled at €1,110/tonne ($1,500/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), up by €30/tonne from the previous month.

Oxo-alcohols buyers also did not see opportunities for suppliers to raise prices, emphasising that availability is good.

One producer expressed surprise at the upstream price increase, given the time of year. The source said it would try to pass on some of the rise, although it doubted that the full amount would be possible, particularly in the case of n-butanol (NBA). The producer expected a modest slowdown in demand this month.

A second producer said it had announced a December increase of about €20/tonne, but was encountering strong resistance on the back of lower demand and consumers’ inventory reductions.

A third producer said it had concluded some NBA and 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) spot deals for export and domestic delivery. Prices for NBA were at €1,135-1,140/tonne FD NWE, up by €18-20/tonne, while 2-EH prices were at €1,450-1,455/tonne FD NWE, up by €25-30/tonne, the source said.

Low stocks mean that there may be less destocking than usual this year, the producer suggested.

A reseller said that its December prices have risen by €30/tonne and demand has picked up slightly. Prices are in the low €1,100s/tonne FD NWE for NBA and the low €1,000s/tonne FD NWE for isobutanol (IBA), the source said.

A buyer said that the NBA and 2-EH markets are weak, and suggested that sellers would find it difficult to push through increases at a time of low activity.

By Samuel Weatherlake