Platts toluene assessments are based on the price of cargoes for loading or for delivery. We publish price assessments of toluene in Northwest Europe, the US Gulf Coast, South Korea, South East Asia, Taiwan, India and China.
Toluene occurs naturally at low levels in crude oil and is a byproduct in the production of gasoline by a catalytic reformer or ethylene cracker. It is also a byproduct of the production of coke from coal. Final separation and purification is done by any of the distillation or solvent extraction processes used for BTX aromatics (benzene, toluene and xylene isomers).
The Asian toluene physical trading market is a key market, and was estimated to be 2.68 million tonnes in 2015 of which China remained the largest buyer at approximately 750,000 mt in 2015. China uses toluene in a variety of applications such as in the production of Paraxylene and Benzene, in solvents manufacturing and in gasoline blending.
Our toluene price assessments are based on robust and transparent market data that includes, but is not limited to, firm bids and offers, expressions of interest to trade and confirmed trades of toluene reported during the Market On Close process every day. This information is summarized in our daily newsletters and published in full on our real-time information service, Platts Petrochemical Alert.
Asia is a key market
Assessment window: Daily assessments FOB Korea and CFR China (CFR China L/C 0-30 days and CFR China L/C 90 days) and domestic China ex-tank are based on the latest information sourced from the market up to the close of the assessment window at 4:30 pm Singapore time (0830 GMT)
The domestic China assessment is inclusive of 17% value added tax while weekly assessments FOB Southeast Asia, CFR Southeast Asia, CFR India and CFR Taiwan are assessed up to the close of the assessment window at 4:30 pm Singapore time (0830 GMT) on Fridays. Weekly averages of daily assessments FOB Korea and CFR China (CFR China L/C 0-30 days and CFR China L/C 90 days) are published on Fridays. Timing: Daily assessments FOB Korea evaluate cargoes for loading in second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth half-month laycans. Platts does not assess the prompt first-half laycan. Each half-month assessment laycan covers 15 or 16 days (if a 31-day month). All half-month laycans are rolled forward on the 1st and 16th day of each calendar month.
The daily FOB Korea marker averages the means of the third and fourth half-month assessment ranges. Daily assessments CFR China evaluate cargoes for delivery in third and fourth half-month laycans. The daily CFR China markers (CFR China L/C 0-30 days and CFR China L/C 90 days) averages the means of the third and fourth half-month ranges. Weekly assessments basis CFR Taiwan, CFR Southeast Asia and CFR India evaluate cargoes to be delivered 20-40 days forward from date of publication. Weekly assessments basis FOB Southeast Asia evaluate cargoes to be loaded 20-40 days forward from date of publication. China Domestic: Parcels to be loaded up to 10 days forward from date of publication. Basis and locations: The FOB Korea marker takes into consideration cargoes loaded from ports such as Daesan, Ulsan and Yeosu. The CFR China (CFR China L/C 30 days and CFR China L/C 90 days) markers assess cargoes delivered to Chinese ports such as Dongguan, Jiangyin, Nanjing, Nansha, Ningbo, Shanghai, Zhangjiagang, Zhenjiang.
The CFR Taiwan marker includes cargoes delivered to Kaohsiung, Keelung and Mailiao while the FOB Southeast Asia marker and CFR Southeast Asia marker include cargoes from and delivered to Singapore, Malaysia (Pasir Gudang) and Indonesia (Merak).
Commercial demand drives US market
The US toluene market is typically driven by chemical demand in the production of benzene, mixed xylene and paraxylene and by gasoline blending demand. Gasoline blending demand with toluene typically starts toward the end of the first quarter when it first starts to warm up, but has strengthened as early as February before. It strengthens off and on from that period and during the summer as the economics make sense. Comparing blend values against spot prices can provide a good indication of when these economics makes sense. When blend values are higher than spot, blending toluene into gasoline can be attractive depending on pricing in other blendstocks. When spot pricing is higher than the blend value, blending toluene into gasoline tends to be unattractive.
Chinese buying patterns have shifted from front month cargoes to hedging their market risks with more forward month cargoes. To address this shift in consumption pattern, Platts on August 1, 2016 introduced three additional CFR China laycans to the assessment in order to provide market participants a tool for their risk management needs.
Platts toluene assessments can be accessed in the following Platts services:
Platts Petrochemicals 2017 Asia Outlook Webinar
European Petrochemicals Conference, 4th Annual
Asian Petrochemicals Markets Conference, 6th Annual
Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum, 11th Annual
Training & Events – Petrochemicals
Platts Market On Close Video