Europe February oxo-alcohols prices steady on propylene rollover

12 February 2014 23:59 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--European oxo-alcohols prices were unchanged in most cases for February following the rollover of the feedstock propylene contract from January, market sources said on Wednesday.

Oxo-alcohols spot prices were assessed by ICIS at €1,110-1,160/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) for n-butanol (NBA), €1,000-1,060/tonne FD NWE for isobutanol (IBA) and €1,390-1,440/tonne FD NWE for 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH).

There were mixed views on demand, but IBA remains weak compared with NBA and 2-EH.

A producer of NBA and 2-EH said it has concluded February spot business at rollovers and increases of €10/tonne, and its prices are in line with the assessed ranges.

The source noted that NBA offtake is rising on the approach of the high-demand season in the coatings industry, while 2-EH is being consumed in greater quantities for the production of 2-ethyhexyl nitrate, which is used as a fuel additive.

A producer in eastern Europe confirmed that its oxo-alcohols prices were stable for February, although it had initially targeted increases in an attempt to improve its margins.

The source said prices in the region are at €1,100-1,150/tonne FD for NBA, €1,400/tonne FD on average for 2-EH, and around €1,000/tonne FD for IBA.

A third producer indicated a falling trend for February, with NBA prices down by €10/tonne from January at €1,090-1,100/tonne FD and IBA prices down by €60/tonne at €1,020-1,030/tonne FD. The source had previously indicated IBA prices at levels that were significantly above the market average.

Stable prices were recorded by a reseller, who observed that demand was not especially strong and was lower than it had been in January. Offtake could improve in March or April, assuming no major rise in feedstock costs, the source added.

A second reseller described a weaker February price trend, based on good availability and lack of demand. Russian NBA is readily available in Europe, the source noted.

A buyer of 2-EH indicated a flat market, but said that demand is good and spot material would probably be easy to obtain.

By Samuel Weatherlake