(ICIS) -- Asia methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) prices are likely to rise after the Lunar New Year holidays, on expectations of higher regional demand and lower supply because of plant turnarounds, traders said on Tuesday.
Spot values of the octane booster in gasoline were steady at $940-950/tonne (┬696-703/tonne) FOB (free on board) Singapore, supported by healthy demand within Asia despite the absence of the key Chinese market.
China is on a week-long holiday for Lunar New Year between 2-8 February.
Import requirements from China were expected to surge after the holidays, as driving demand in the world's top energy user as well as the number-one global auto market would peak in the next few months, traders said.
Car sales in China rose an annualised 33.2% in 2010 to 13.8m units, according to a Reuters report quoting China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
Meanwhile, Indonesia would use even more gasoline after southeast Asia's biggest economy posted a 6.1% growth for last year, with its fourth-quarter GDP up at 6.9% - the strongest ever in six years.
Spot MTBE premiums in Singapore have been hovering near $30/tonne to market quotes on a delivered basis for the past couple of weeks, they said.