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European IPA at record high as production of sanitary products ramps up

  • Author
  • Stergios Zacharakis    Mary Hogan
  • Editor
  • Dan Lalor
  • Commodity
  • Petrochemicals
  • Topic
  • Coronavirus and Commodities

Isopropyl alcohol prices have reached fresh record highs both in Europe and the US in response to increasing demand from the industry for sanitary and hygiene products.

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Meanwhile, the market was becoming tighter and in some regions offers reached Eur5,000-6,000/mt ($5,400-$6,500/mt), according to traders. A number said they were sold out until at least mid-April.

The price for the spot IPA truck business was assessed up Eur500/mt week on week at Eur3,600/mt on Tuesday, S&P Global Platts data showed, the highest since the Platts IPA FD NWE assessment was launched in early 1994.

In the US, the domestic spot IPA price was assessed up $1,285/mt on the week at $2,265/mt DER, the highest assessed level for US Gulf volumes since May 1986 when the assessment was launched.

The domestic spot IPA FOB USG price was also assessed $1,285/mt higher at $2,205/mt FOB USG, representing the highest assessed level for export volumes from the Gulf Coast since the assessment was launched in July 1982.

As European IPA reached fresh highs, Ineos announced plans to build hand sanitizer plants in Germany and the UK, utilizing its production of IPA from Moers, Germany and ethanol from Grangemouth, Scotland.

"Ineos will produce the bottle and gel, we have a line that can package the bottles and distribute from there," an Ineos spokesperson said.

Ineos will provide free product for hospitals. The company will supply hospitals, schools, places of work, pharmacies and supermarkets.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that hand to mouth infection is a significant cause of coronavirus contagion and Ineos is Europe's largest manufacturer of the core ingredient of hand sanitizer. We will build two factories in the UK and Germany in 10 days to produce very substantial supplies," Jim Ratcliffe, founder and chairman of Ineos, said.

Pharma grade ethanol premium to fuel grade was increasing amid the demand from hygiene sector and several fuel ethanol producers are also turning to industrial ethanol/hand sanitizer production, according to our sources.