A bumpy week for crude oil prices has prompted a cautious mood among LPG traders in Northwest Europe and the Mediterranean, with market players holding off on deals until the market steadies, sources across the market said this week.

"I think people are sitting on their hands a bit at the moment," said a source active in the West Mediterranean market.

On Wednesday, the Brent crude market closed in London at a two-year high of $63.74/b on the back of a series of arrests in Saudi Arabia, after fluctuating around that level earlier in the week.

Wary of the volatility, traders and brokers exercised caution across the cargo and coaster markets for propane and butane.

"Overall [there's] little discussion and action [on the butane coaster market in Northwest Europe]," a source active in that market said.

"[Buyers] are hesitating to buy," said another source on the inland propane market, which has also seen seasonal heating demand finally enter the market.

Activity in the North Sea spot cargo market has also slowed to a crawl, with only a handful of indications shown in the broker window this week, and none shown for the butane market in either Northwest Europe or the West Med.

On Monday, as crude prices dragged the propane CIF NWE large cargo market to a two-year high on a flat-price basis, no indications were shown in the broker window as market players sat out the volatility, a source said.

"I was a little surprised that we had absolutely zip," the source added.

--Katherine Dunn, katherine.dunn@spglobal.com
--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter, jonathan.carter@spglobal.com


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