LONDON (ICIS)--Nearly all plasticizer prices have rolled over from April into May on good availability and lacklustre demand, sources in the European market said on Wednesday.
The feedstock propylene contract price increased by €10/tonne, but producers were unable to pass this on to consumers.
The second quarter is usually a high-demand season, but most sources indicated that May offtake is below the levels they had expected.
In addition, competitively priced Turkish and Asian imports, particularly dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP), have been exerting downward pressure on prices, with the effect being most noticeable in the Mediterranean.
One DOTP producer said that demand is slightly lower than it had expected this month, which it attributed in part to public holidays. However, underlying demand is also poor, which it felt was due to an unfavourable economic environment. Prices were unchanged from April, it added.
A diisononyl phthalate (DINP) and dipropyl heptyl phthalate (DPHP) producer said that its prices were mostly rolled over but had been lowered by €10-20/tonne in a few cases.
Demand is good but stable, the source said, and the market is well-supplied. The producer noted that activity in the construction sector started earlier than usual this year.
Another DPHP producer said that demand is acceptable and prices were unchanged for May. There is now a strong tendency for consumers to place their orders as late as possible, the source observed.
A fourth plasticizers producer described a quiet market with weak demand for the time of year. Prices are stable to slightly lower this month, the source said.
A plasticizers buyer said that the market is steady with adequate demand and good availability. Imports of DINP and DOTP are attractively priced, the source noted.
A consumer of DINP and DOTP said that prices and demand were unchanged month on month.
A DINP buyer in the UK said that all of its May prices were rolled over on good availability and flat demand.
A Turkish producer said its plasticizer prices were rolled over for May and described a fairly quiet market in Europe and Turkey. Demand is a little lower than expected but should improve, the source added.
Spot prices were assessed by ICIS on Wednesday at €1,510-1,540/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) for dioctyl phthalate (DOP), €1,520-1,550/tonne for DINP, €1,575-1,605/tonne FD NWE for DPHP and €1,500-1,550/tonne FD NWE for DOTP.