Price and market trends: Europe February plasticizer prices start to settle at rollover

14 February 2014 00:00 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

Following the conclusion of the February feedstock propylene contract at a rollover, sources in the European plasticizers market said on 5 November, that initial price settlements show little or no change from January.

Many February plasticizer accounts remain under discussion. There were differing views on demand, depending on the region.

One dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) producer described a very active market with growing demand. Prices vary considerably from one region to another, the source said: some areas are seeing a rising trend, while those most heavily exposed to Asian imports are seeing a falling trend.

While prices were stable to lower in Italy and Spain as a result of higher imports, northwest Europe saw increases of around €20/tonne, the source said. Another DOTP producer said its prices were concluded at a rollover from January. In contrast to the first producer, the source said that some importers are struggling to move material into Europe on time. Demand is healthy, partly as a result of this lack of imports, the producer said.

A dipropyl heptyl phthalate (DPHP) producer said it has settled some of its February prices at a rollover. Demand is acceptable, the source said, noting that this is still a low-demand season.

A Turkish producer of dioctyl phthalate (DOP) and diisononyl phthalate (DINP) said its prices are rising by €20-25/tonne this month on higher oxo-alcohol costs and a seasonal improvement in demand.

A second Turkish producer said it is raising its prices by €15-20/tonne for DOTP and €5-10/tonne for DOP. Demand for DOTP is good, but South Korean material is available at competitive prices, the source said.A reseller of DINP and DOTP said its February prices are stable to slightly higher and demand is healthy. An Italian reseller of DOP and DINP said it expects stable prices on slow demand in the region.

A buyer said that European suppliers are targeting rollovers, but there is downward pressure on DINP and DOTP on account of imports from Turkey and South Korea. Prices will probably be stable this month, the source said, adding that offtake is in line with seasonal expectations.

A second buyer said its prices are rolling over, while a third said it expects stable or slightly lower prices for February.

A Spanish buyer said it had received an offer at minus €30/tonne for DOP and DINP, but acknowledged that this might be related to poor demand in the region. A fifth buyer said it agreed reductions of €10/tonne for DPHP, while suppliers are targeting rollovers on DINP.

In the UK, one buyer said that early indications favour stable pricing, while another said it is attempting to secure a rollover on DINP against its supplier’s targeted increase of £10/tonne.

By Samuel Weatherlake