For the Quarter Ending December 2021
The Alkoxylates market in North America experienced the brunt of upstream crude oil shortage upon the ethylene oxide and propylene oxide feedstock inventories that touched lowest levels, induced by still-prevalent production outages post the Ida hurricane landfall in August. The heavy disruptions of the supply chain network owing to the damage from the hurricane coupled with the global container crisis further slowed down the recovery of the American market causing the market participants to fear losing competitiveness. The multitudinous applications of Alkoxylates in sectors like personal care, textile and lubricant sector attracted incessant growth in demand during Q4-2021 which further pressurized the Alkoxylates prices causing it to peak during November. However, the rising price trends eventually got reversed during December with values reaching USD 2446/MT in the USA on FOB basis, owing to the relaxing shipment constraints, and improving upstream market with the emancipation of crude oil from the USA government’s strategic reserves.
The inflationary pressure from the stronger feedstock market, effective offtakes in the downstream industries and soaring freight charges caught the Alkoxylate market in India under a tight spot. The manufacturers struggled to carry out productions at reasonable operating rates with feedstock supply shortages, while the overseas imports saw prolonged delays further intensifying the supply deficit in the market. China’s production levels saw a decline of over 50% during October with the government’s “Dual Control Policy” in effect. The traded prices in India remained firm for a major period of the quarter triggered by downstream market optimism during the festival period. December witnessed lacklustre market trends with prices in India hovering around USD 2507/MT Ex-Mumbai, backed by the gradual weakening in the feedstock prices as well as the seasonal dullness in demand.
The skyrocketing energy prices coupled with extreme tightness in raw material supplies led to the permeation of bullish sentiments in the European Alkoxylate market. The demand from the downstream surfactant and paper industry remained firm, while manufacturers found it difficult to arrange for timely dispatch and delivery of consignments amid logistical challenges and increasing restrictions on movement in the wake of Omicron spread. The ripples of the ongoing mayhem were also reflected in the spot prices as price negotiations were hardly entertained by the traders. However, the improving energy inventories and retracting freight charges from prominent heights during December pulled out the Alkoxylate market from the tumultuous state. The average prices assessed in Germany during December settled around USD 2512/MT FOB Hamburg.