Asia benzene sheds $45/mt to slide below $1,400/mt psychological barrier
Singapore (Platts)--9Jan2013/712 am EST/1212 GMT
Asian benzene prices crashed through the $1,400/mt support level
Wednesday, shedding $45/mt or 3.1% day on day to settle at $1,397.50/mt FOB
Korea as factors supporting a bullish benzene market collapsed, market
Benzene prices in Asia were last below $1,400/mt on November 22.
During its bull run, benzene peaked December 19 at $1,487/mt.
Huge downstream expansion in China drew benzene cargoes away from the
US, resulting in a shortfall of benzene cargoes in both regions. Moreover,
traders caught short in a prolonged backwardation structure in the benzene
market were kept busy seeking prompt cargoes in an already tight benzene
The delay in 2013 term contract settlements also caused uncertainty
regarding prompt cargoes in December.
Article continues below...
|Request a free trial of: Asian Petrochemicalscan|
Asian Petrochemicalscan provides weekly market updates, commentary and assessments ranging from naphtha feedstocks to aromatics, olefins, and polymers in Southeast Asia, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
In the week ended January 4, benzene prices were in a $1,476-$1,482/mt
FOB Korea range as downstream styrene monomer prices remained firm.
Asia's benzene market tracked plunging US benzene prices as Chinese
demand waned on the back of imported benzene cargoes selling at a premium of
at least $70/mt to domestic cargoes late December.
Asian traders subsequently sought to move benzene cargoes to the US.
The US benzene market continued on a bearish streak with benzene prices
falling for the fourth consecutive day. February benzene was assessed at 489
cents/gal ($1,462/mt) FOB US Gulf Tuesday, down 7 cents/gal on day.
On Wednesday, sellers were seeking to offload March cargoes in the open
while discussing February cargoes privately.
"There are no short traders in the market now. January shipments to the
US is more than December shipment," said a trader citing that the tightness
in Asian benzene supply had eased.
--Joycelyn Chua, email@example.com
--Edited by Martin O'Rourke, firstname.lastname@example.org