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Suez blockage impacts refrigerant prices

EUROPE: High prices from Chinese refrigerant producers combined with freight and transport problems created some uncertainty in the market at the beginning of this year.

According to the European refrigerant price monitoring survey for Q1 2021 from Öko-Recherche, the blockage of the Suez Canal led to “significant” cost increases, bottlenecks in transport capacity and delivery delays, with the entire supply chain affected. 

Average refrigerant distributor purchase prices from Q3/2020 to Q1/2021

The price of R404A increased at gas producer level, remained stable for gas distributors and decreased at OEM level. R134a and R410A prices increased noticeably at gas supplier level, while showing a slight decrease for OEMs. 

Demand for R410A was reported to be still rather low, especially at service company level. Öko-Recherche attribute this, at least partially, to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the related hotel and restaurant closures as well as low office occupancy, which have led to a postponement of servicing and maintenance work. 

Prices of alternatives such as HFC/HFO blend solutions remained mostly stable, with some slight increases in gas distributor purchase prices. 

There were no reports of availability problems of any refrigerant, with the exception of one French OEM who indicated it was only able to obtain a limited quantity of R32. 

The Q1/2021 report is based on information from 72 companies from 10 EU member states – mainly from France, Germany, Italy and Poland. This included three gas producers, 15 gas distributors, 30 OEMs, 21 service companies, one end-user and two others.

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