05 June 1996 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Naphtha rose to $203/tonne cif NWE before falling back to $196-198/tonne cif. Naphtha is weaker due to softer gasoline prices. Nevertheless gasoline remains firm relative to crude. Demand for naphtha is relatively strong in the US and transatlantic shipments have tightened supply in NWE.
Ethylene markets continue tight but buyers appear to be resisting further hikes. An offer of Venezuelan material at $700/tonne CFR received no takers with buyers positioned at $670-680/tonne CFR for prompt. A US ethylene cargo was on offer for mid-June delivery to Europe but was reported unsold. DSM had yet to restart its 570 000 tonne/year Beek 4, cracker in the Netherlands as ECN went to press.
Propylene prices remain firm with reports of a 1000 tonne co-producer sale at DM625/tonne fob for polymer grade. Spot business remains thin with activity focused on producer swaps. Propylene demand from the Far East remains strong with PP demand said to be putting a ceiling on prices.
Butadiene markets are tightening in western Europe with ideas for the Far East now firm at $330/tonne fob and $310-320/tonne already achieved. Little movement of European butadiene to the US is reported. However, a 19 cent/lb contract price in May, and talks of further hikes in June will encourage transatlantic shipments.
Benzene spot markets are sluggish with little business reported. A producer bought 1000 tonne at $268/tonne fob Rotterdam but demand is weak due to turnarounds. US spot numbers are 93-96 cent/gal with contracts agreed at $1.00/gal for May.
Toluene prices have firmed with 8000 tonne sold to US producer, Coastal (ECN 6 May p10). 3000 tonne was sold at $255/tonne fob Rotterdam and the balance at $245-248/tonne fob. US spot prices are 89-90 cent/gal. However, numbers look set to slip on the back of the lower gasoline numbers.
Xylene prices are holding at $290/tonne fob but downward movement is expected later this month as product arrives into Europe from the US. Spot prices in the US are supported by firm gasoline numbers.
Styrene spot markets are quiet and prices continue to soften. Business has been done as low as $520-525/tonne fob Rotterdam. In the Far East, a 2000 tonne parcel was sold at $560-565/tonne CFR Bangkok. US spot prices are reported at 25 cent/lb.
Paraxylene prices have seen a slight rise with spot values at $430-440/tonne fob. In the Far East there have been signs of a small pickup in volumes. In Europe, customers have been minimising contract uptake but traders are in the market to cover positions for May and June. Producers are rumoured to be planning cut-backs in PX production in response to weak markets.
Orthoxylene markets are quiet and prices continue to soften to around $340/tonne fob. There is little interest in spot product and supply is plentiful. Prices are predicted to fall towards the $330/tonne contract value, although six-week turnarounds at Omsk and then Ufa will limit Russian material for Europe.
Methanol prices are stable in Europe and supply ample despite a shortage of Russian material. Problems are reported at both the Tomsk and Gubakha plants, with Russian producers said to meeting contractual obligations from stocks at Kotka. US methanol markets are now said to be balanced despite outages at three major plants.
MTBE prices settled at $295-300/tonne fob with a deal done at $298/tonne fob NWE. Demand is mainly for export to the US with markets there reported tighter because of planned outages in May at Arco in the US and at Neste in Canada. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has a planned three-week outage.
Ammonia prices are softer with a 29 May tender in Greece awarded at $198-199/tonne CFR with 120 days' credit for 27-31 May lifting. The sale reflects a Yuzhnyy fob level in the low $160s/tonne. In Spain PQM has bought a cargo for late May at $200-203/tonne CFR while in Turkey an 8000 tonne sales tender was awarded in the low $180s/tonne fob Gemlik, for May.
|Bulk chemical prices|
|DM/tonne||$/tonne||$/tonne||last week||price $/tonne|
|Naphtha||n.a.||n.a.||196-198 (cif)||no change||n.a.|
|Ethylene||830*||556||630-670 (cif)||up 13||430 (Mar)|
|Propylene??✠?>???✠?>||560*||375||420-430 (cif)||up 5||369 (Mar)|
|Butadiene||644??†?>???†?>||440||310-330 (fob)||up 15||375 (Apr)|
|Benzene||380*||257||262-268 (fob)||up 8||299 (May)|
|Toluene||335* (fob)||227||245-255 (fob)||up 3||n.a.|
|Xylene||n.a.||n.a.||280-290 (fob)||down 5||249 (Apr)|
|Paraxylene||1125*||754||430-440 (fob)||up 10||760 (Q2)|
|Orthoxylene||505*||342||330-350 (nom)||down 20||375 (Apr)|
|Methanol||225* (fob)||153||147-148 (T2)(fob)
|MTBE||1.49-1.50x*||n.a.||295-300 (fob)||down 8||n.a.|
|Ammonia||n.a.||n.a.||195-200 (CFR)||no change||n.a.|
Prices contained in this report are obtained by ECN through consultation with producers, consumers and merchants across Europe. They are intended as a guide to price levels of recent business in Europe and reflect medium to large tonnage sales. Spot prices are quoted fob (free-on-board) NW European port, cif (cost, insurance, and freight), FCA (free carrier), CFR (cost and freight). T1 = imported material subject to EC common eternal tariffs, T2 = EC material, not dutiable, bld = blending grade, com = commercial grade, nit = nitration grade. European contract prices are quoted on a free delivered basis (FD) unless otherwise stated; initial but unfixed negotiating range is indicated (nom), n.a. = not applicable, m = monthly contracts.
Spot prices in this issue are based on information available on 1 May 1996.
Dollar prices are based on rates of exchange on 30 April:
DM:$1.534; FF:$5.179; Dfl:$1.715; $:£1.496. The dollar equivalent range is based
on exchange rates prevalent at the time of contract closure if available, or an
average rate for the quarter.
??†?>???†?> Indicates H1 contracts
* Indicates Q2 contracts
??malt;?>???malt;?> Indicates polymer grade
a Lower figure for barge price, higher
figure free delivery inland
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