Phthalic anhydride prices remained flat on the week
The Northwest European spot price of phthalic anhydride flakes was assessed at Eur1,250/mt FD NWE on Thursday, the price remained flat on the week. While phthalic spot prices had maintained strength on supply tightness in Europe this week and a marginally higher feedstock cost in April, views at the close of March were that recovering supply in Europe could lead to lower prices in coming weeks. The April European ortho xylene contract price has been fully settled at Eur815/mt FD NWE, several buyers and sellers confirmed Thursday. The full settlement was an increase of Eur10 from March’s full settlement of Eur805/mt. The increase came against the background of tight OX supply in Europe, which kept sentiment bullish. This was despite bearish fundamentals in upstream MX, which pushed MX prices lower and led to an increase in OX producer margins. While sellers had attempted to push the OX April ECP substantially higher, buyers held firm, taking the view that OX prices were already on the high side. Prices are also under pressure on a wide arbitrage that exists from Asia, in China was unchanged this week at$950/mt CFR. Austria’s Atmos a has a planned shutdown at its plant in Schwechat starting April 18 and ending May 25. A planned shutdown of the50,000 mt/year plant may slow the recovery of spot supply to the market.2-EH/BUTANOLS: Northwest European 2-ethylhexanol spot prices were assessed at Eur1,050/mt Thursday, flat on the week. NWE prices for normal and iso butanols Thursday were assessed at Eur1,000/mt and Eur900/mt, respectively, both flat on the week. Upcoming planned maintenance at an East European producer in June along with the continued supply cut from the BASF Ludwigshafen Germany site is expected to maintain strong fundamentals. While prices have only shown increases this year on tight supply, low prices in Asia could undermine the European market. N butanol was assessed $10/mt lower week-on-week at $750/mt CFR China this Wednesday while 2-EH fell $25/mt to $1,010/mt CFR China. The Northwest European feedstock propylene contract price for April fully settled at the end of March at Eur880/mt FD, up Eur15 on the month, increases of 2-EH and butanol spot prices in April were expected to surplus those of costs on strong fundamentals. Domestic prices in key Asian market China continued their downward trajectory this week amid waning demand, especially for phthalic anhydride. “Buyers would prefer to buy naphthalene-based phthalic now as prices are lower,” a market source said. The fall in prices was also attributed to lower feedstock prices. Chinese giant Sinopec lowered its ex-works ortho xylene offers in East China by Yuan 200/mt on Monday to Yuan 6,400/mt, equivalent to about $744.75/mt on an import basis, amid a buildup of inventory at eastern Chinese ports. OX is the feedstock. Our clients.
Phthalic anhydride were stable at $950/mt CFR China amid tepid demand. In China, domestic phthalic prices also remained at Yuan 6,700/mt, equivalent to$768.40/mt CFR China on an import Phthalic basis. On the other hand ,naphthalene-based phthalic prices tumbled Yuan 200/mt to Yuan 6,100/mt which made it more attractive for DOP producers to buy. In plant news, South Korea’s Aekyung had shut its 210,000 mt/year line for a month of unplanned maintenance. “We had a minor problem in our plant, so we decided to do a full maintenance and change the catalyst for our line,”said sources. The plant will restart at the end of April, although the exact date is not confirmed as yet.