PHENOL/ACETONE: Phenol demand is currently high and availability on the spot market limited, according to sources. “There are a lot of requests but I am sold out for Q1,” one producer said, adding that they were not in the spot market as a result. Despite the good demand, though, premiums to benzene were stable on week at Eur550/mt FD NWE, at the upper end of ranges at Eur500-Eur550/mt. The acetone spot market was described as “a bit sluggish” by sources this week, and prices dipped to Eur600/mt FD NWE, down Eur30/mt on the week.
ETAC/BUTAC: Sharp rises were seen in the etac market this week, because of reports of production problems at Ineos’s production facility in Hull, England. “Europe’s largest producer seems to be running at low rates and is expected to go in a two-week unplanned outage,” one source said. Ineos was not immediately available to comment. As a result of the Ineos issues, demand requirements are going to other parties, giving them an opportunity to increase prices, a distributor said. Etac spot prices rose Eur140/mt to Eur1,070/mt FD NWE. Meanwhile, the butac market softened, with prices falling to Eur1,170/mt FD NWE, down Eur30/mt on the week as supply continued to lengthen, sources said.
MEK/IPA: MEK spot pricing showed sharp falls this week, down Eur40/mt to Eur1,100/mt FD NWE, as supply continued to lengthen with the arrival of imports from Asia. “Some Chinese containers are coming in. MEK is a small market so imports have a faster influence [on pricing],” one source said. “Demand is normal but supply, due to imports, is really good,” one distributor said. However, one source said that the Asian material would “not have a big impact on the market.” Prices were seen in a Eur1,000-Eur1,150/mt range, largely down from last week. IPA spot pricing fell Eur20/mt to Eur1,000/mt FD NWE, within ranges heard at Eur900-Eur1,050/mt. “IPA demand is good, supply is good, feedstocks are stable. Producers are maintaining present pricing to not disturb the market,” one source said. However, a producer said that “prices are slightly lower. Although less US material is around, there is plenty of EU product.”