06 March 2000 00:00 [Source: ACN]With the exception of benzene, aromatics continue rising
Benzene: Two South Korean producers finally succumbed to buyer pressures and concluded deals at US$390/tonne fob Korea, US$20/tonne lower than earlier price expectations.
Other producers were still insisting on US$400-410/tonne fob Korea, against bids of US$390/ tonne fob Korea. They denied any pressure to lower offers and were anticipating US March contract prices to be settled at US$1.50/gal. They also expect the strength in styrene prices to lend support to benzene markets. One producer was determined to wait for buyers to meet its current offer at US$410-415/tonne fob Korea.
Toluene: Prices continued to rise with South Korean offers climbing to US$335-340/ tonne fob Korea. Most Chinese bids were at US$315-320/tonne. Producers expect a surge in Chinese and Taiwanese buying in the next two weeks and do not rule out offers touching US$350/tonne fob Korea.
Two deals were reported - one at US$340/ tonne cfr Japan for 2000 tonne and the other at US$330/tonne fob Korea for 3000 tonne.
Mixed xylenes: Market sentiment for isomer grade was firm. One trader was targeting US$350/tonne cfr Korea. Buyers were unprepared, but the trader was confident they would soon come to terms with the price.
A gap in price ideas kept solvent-grade markets quiet. Offers were at US$320-325/ tonne fob Korea, with Chinese bids at US$315/tonne fob Korea. Offers in SEA were at US$330-340/tonne cfr SEA.
Styrene: Prices resumed their upward trend with offers at US$970/tonne fob Korea. Buying ideas were at US$940-955/tonne fob Korea. Traders reported deals done at US$950-980/tonne cfr Taiwan. Chinese buyers were mostly observing the market, with a few bids of US$940/tonne cfr ChinaMarket players expect prices could rise further with upcoming scheduled turnarounds in Japan. One producer was aiming for US$1000/tonne cfr China. Chinese buyers expected prices to settle at US$950/tonne cfr China as PS markets are still weakParaxylene: Paraxylene prices soared with recent deals for two cargoes each of 5000 tonne sold to an Asian trader at US$480/ tonne fob Korea. Another deal was reportedly done at US$485/tonne fob Korea, but this could not be confirmed. Producers said the US$40/tonne increment over the last fixture was a result of snug supplies. Scheduled plant turnarounds are expected to keep availability tight throughout Q2.
South Korean producers turned bullish with price ideas climbing to US$500/tonne fob Korea.
Orthoxylene: Prices jumped, with one deal concluded at US$460/tonne cfr China for a 1000-tonne cargo.
Chinese buyers were bidding for more cargoes at US$440-450/tonne cfr China. The increase was due to rising feedstock costs and strong phthalic anhydride markets, said producers. They expect to see an increase in buying volumes in March or April.
Phenol: An SEA buyer bought 1500-2000 tonne at US$600/tonne cfr SEA. Other small-volume fixtures to SEA were done at US$650/tonne cfr SEA. Traders reported deals done with buyers in China and Taiwan at US$600/tonne cfr China/Taiwan for 1000-2000-tonne cargoes.
Rising benzene costs prompted producers to again look for price increases. One Japanese producer said it would offer May cargoes at US$650/tonne cfr Taiwan/China.
Traders anticipate prices will ease in Q2, after the startup of new plants by Phenolchemie and Shell in the US.
|Asia/Pacific spot||US/Euro contracts|
|NE Asia1||SE Asia2||US3||NWE4|
|Benzene||390||420 fob Thailand||1.3/gal Feb||321|
|Toluene||330||310-320 fob Thailand||na||305 fob|
|Xylenes7||340-3505 cfr Korea||295 fob Thailand||1.02 cent/gal Feb||na|
|Styrene||950-980 cfr Taiwan||960 fob SEA||36-38 Jan||700-725|
|Orthoxylene||460 cfr China||410-4155||19.5 Jan/Feb||410|
|Phenol||600 cfr China||600-650||28 Q4 1999||13006|
1 prices are fob Korea unless otherwise indicated
2 prices are cfr SEA unless otherwise indicated
3 US prices are Dec 1999 contract levels in cent/lb on an fob
basis unless otherwise indicated, courtesy of ECN
4 European FD Q1 contract pricein Euro/tonne, courtesy of
5 polymer grade
6 No recent confirmed business
na = not available
7 bid-offer range
MoPJ = Mean of Platt's Japan
Prices contained in this report are obtained by the ACN team
through consultation with producers, consumers and merchants in the
They are a guide to price levels of recent business and reflect medium to large tonnage sales.
Spot prices are quoted as indicated: cfr - cost and freight;
fob - free on board;
cif - cost,
insurance and freight;
FD - free delivered.
Spot prices are based on information available mid-week prior to the date of issue.
Dollar prices are based on prevailing rates of exchange.
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