Platts Petrochemical Analysis: Asian benzene up along with crude oil
New York (Platts)--18Jul2012/1229 pm EDT/1629 GMT
Asian benzene gained $3/mt or 0.3% day on day to $1,178/mt FOB Korea
Wednesday, shown in red below, on the back of firmer crude oil prices.
September ICE Brent crude futures rose $0.28/barrel or 0.3% day on day
Wednesday to $103.84/b at 4:30 pm Singapore time (0830 GMT).
arbitrage to the US and short covering have also been giving support to
[Asian] benzene prices," a South Korean source said. "I think prices could
start correcting if US prices ease further," the source added.
In the US, the
prompt benzene price was assessed Tuesday at $1,524/mt FOB USG, shown in blue
US September benzene fell 10 cents/gal ($29.93 /mt) overnight Tuesday
to 420 cents/gal ($1,257/mt) FOB USG.
European benzene fell $21.50/mt over
the same period to $1,375/mt CIF ARA, shown in green below. (See chart 1)
Market commentary continues below...
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Asian toluene gained $8/mt day on day Wednesday to close at $1,124.50/mt FOB
Korea, shown in red below. Tuesday's $7/mt backwardation between H1 August
and H1 September flattened to $1/mt Wednesday as industry watchers said poor
Chinese demand for toluene has dampened sentiment.
Chinese buyers were
reluctant to buy as local domestic prices were only at Yuan 8,350/mt, which
is around $1,080/mt on an import parity basis.
The H1 September/H1 October
spread widened to $11/mt, up from $8/mt Tuesday as buyers had less confidence
in the back month.
"Nobody knows what is happening in October so it is a
riskier move," a Singapore-based trader said. "September has more buyers but
even then, who is (to) say if the market is really backwardated. There are no
facts to support it," he added.
The US toluene price, shown in blue below,
was assessed Tuesday at $1,267/mt FOB USG, while the European price, shown in
green below, was assessed at $1,153/mt FOB Rdam. (See chart 2)
Asian isomer-grade mixed xylenes inched down $1/mt from a day earlier to
$1,192/mt FOB Korea, shown in red below, and $1,212/mt CFR Taiwan Wednesday,
shrugging off a larger loss in downstream paraxylene.
PX plunged $20.50/mt
day on day. The H2 August/H1 September spread for isomer-MX was assessed at
flat Wednesday compared with minus $6/mt on Tuesday.
In the US, MX prices
climbed to $1,257/mt FOB US Gulf, shown in blue below. (See chart 3)
The Asian paraxylene market fell $20.50/mt from Tuesday to be assessed at
$1,398/mt CFR Taiwan/China Wednesday, shown in red below, hit by bearish
downstream purified terephthalic acid.
The CFR China PTA price fell $10/mt
day on day Wednesday to be assessed at $1,001/mt. On China's Zhengzhou
Commodity Exchange, actively-traded September PTA futures finished Yuan
150/mt lower at Yuan 7,702/mt.
The Asian PX market was also pressured by
persisting spot PX selling from Chinese PTA producers for August laycans.
Chinese PTA producers have turned PX sellers as it is currently a more
profitable option for them amid negative margins.
The US PX price, shown in
blue below, was assessed Tuesday at $1,365/mt FOB USG.
The European price,
shown in green below, was assessed at $1,280/mt FOB ARA. (See chart 4)
Asian styrene monomer was assessed up $2/mt day on day Wednesday at $1,376/mt
FOB Korea, shown in red below, tracking higher energy and feedstock costs,
combined with demand for FOB Korea cargoes.
acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene was assessed down $5/mt week on week to
$1,950/mt CFR China and flat over the same period at $1,985/mt CFR Southeast
Asia as demand in China was heard softening.
General purpose polystyrene was
assessed up $5/mt week on week at $1,515/mt CFR China and $1,535/mt CFR
Southeast Asia as feedstock SM increased $20.50/mt week on week.
US styrene price, shown in blue below, was assessed flat at $1,410/mt FOB
USG. The European price, shown in green below, was assessed at $1,415/mt FOB
Rdam. (See chart 5)
--Jim Foster, email@example.com