Expectations of the imminent arrival of imported cargoes and the inability to push sufficient methanol volumes out of Rotterdam up the Rhine is putting downward pressure on spot prices, sources said Wednesday.
They estimated that around 100,000-150,000 mt of methanol from other regions might land in Europe in the coming weeks. Sources said the cargoes are coming from various locations, mostly from across the Atlantic (the US, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Equatorial Guinea), but also from Oman and the Baltic region.
At the same time record-low Rhine water levels are preventing shipments of full loads on barges, which is slowing down the outflow of methanol from storage in Rotterdam.
"The stocks are still low, but they are increasing. The situation started to change around a week to week and half ago. There are a lot of truck loadings, but these volumes are not matching the usual volumes," a market source said.
Rhine water levels at the key chokepoint of Kaub in Germany were 27 centimeters at midday Wednesday, according to the German waterways authority WSV. It expects that the water levels will dwindle to a fresh record-low of 22 cm by Saturday.
The spot methanol market shed 8.6% over the past 10 days and traded late Tuesday at Eur355/mt for November loading.
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