European orthoxylene and phthalic anhydride supply has finally returned to normal over the last few months following numerous issues since the turn of the year. Planned and unplanned outages at several units across the region have led to periods of significant tightness for both products during the first half of 2017.
In Europe, the vast majority of orthoxylene and phthalic anhydride is sold on a contract basis and those fulfilling their needs with just contractual volumes have not been impacted by the tightness so much. However, its been difficult to source incremental volumes for much of the year so far and spot prices have seen some sharp upwards movement. Consumers who require spot volumes have struggled to source material and high prices have led to downstream margins being squeezed. At times spot prices have been completely notional as there has been no material available at all.
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