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Wind energy sector causes epoxy resins shortages for coatings firms

March 31/2011

(ICIS) -- The strengthening downstream wind energy sector was causing epoxy resins shortages for coatings manufacturers, sources at the 2011 European Coatings Show in Nuremberg, Germany, said on Thursday. Heavy epoxies used in the manufacture of wind turbines, a fast-growing industry, meant less was available for the traditional coatings industry, according to several players.

Producers and buyers also said that many composites and amines, used as curing agents for epoxies, were now heading to China where they could be sold for a much higher price. This has compounded long-running problems with upstream bisphenol A (BPA), as plant outages and high prices of the feedstock have restricted epoxy production.

This has led to epoxy resins hitting EUR 2.950-3.050/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) in March.

Adding further tension was the fact that the traditional downstream paints and coatings season was about to kick in as the weather warms across Europe, so epoxies demand was set to increase and keep availability short.

Manufacturers were already chasing EUR 100/tonne (USD 141/tonne) hikes for April contracts, though so far most seemed to be settling for half that.

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