By Felicia Loo
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--India's domestic ethanolamines prices are likely to fall further amid high import volumes which are outpacing consumption, traders said on Thursday.
The local price declines of the homologues are expected to pressure down the imported prices, which until now have been buffered by limited new selling offers from southeast Asia owing to plant maintenance, they added.
In India, the domestic diethanolamines (DEA) prices weakened to Indian rupees (Rs) 117-118/kg EXWH (ex-warehouse) in the week ended 19 February, compared with Rs119-122/kg EXWH in the previous reporting week ended 12 February.
Local prices of monoethanolamines (MEA) remained unchanged at Indian rupees (Rs) 105-107/kg EXWH in the week ended 19 February though prices might decrease given the sluggish demand.
"MEA is very weak. The market is not moving and there is a lot of DEA material floating around," said one market participant in Mumbai.
With the cost price of DEA pegged at Rs112/kg EXWH, there is room for prices to fall further, market participants said.
In fact, DEA discussions had increased to Rs122/kg EXWH during mid-January from Rs108-112/kg EXWH previously as supply was tight at that time.
Reflecting rising supply, India already imported 500 tonnes of DEA in the first week of February – which makes up half the country's monthly average imports.
India consumes around 12,000 tonnes/year of DEA which are acquired via imports, according to traders.
On the MEA front, India's annual consumption is 5,000-6,000 tonnes/year. The country relies on MEA imports, the traders said.
India has imported around 100 tonnes of MEA in the first week of February, market participants said.
Meanwhile, the imported MEA prices in India were assessed as stable in the week ended 19 February at $1,400-1,575/tonne CIF India, ICIS data showed.
Similarly, the imported DEA prices were assessed as unchanged at $1,500-1,600/tonne CIF India over the same period.
The imported prices were kept stable in response to limited selling offers from southeast Asia, because of plant maintenance.
A major producer is expected to have restarted the ethanolamines plant following a regular turnaround in mid-February. However, market players said the plant will restart only toward the end of this month.
Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections