11 June 2001 00:00 [Source: ACN]No support for styrene
Benzene: Prices registered no movement due to weak spot demand from Asian buyers. The decline in the US spot prices kept the East-West arbitrage window closed. Despite pressure from high naphtha costs, producers insisted they were in no rush to sell as inventory levels were comfortable. A few offers were heard at US$290-295/ tonne fob Korea while bids were at US$280- 285/tonne fob Korea.
The US contract price for June was settled at US$1.13/gal and spot prices were around US$1.06/gal last week.
Toluene: Producers continued to target US$335-340/tonne fob Korea, but buyers were hard to locate. Traders said Chinese buyers were interested in small volumes at US$320-325/tonne fob Korea. A SEA buyer was said to be looking for 2000 tonne at the same price level. A western trader was confident producers would be willing to settle at US$325/tonne fob Korea for cargoes of 10 000 tonne to be moved to the US. But as US spot prices have softened, the trader was not aggressively pursuing this business. Mixed xylenes: Firm solvent-grade prices supported isomer-grade markets. Offers for July isomer grade cargoes were at US$370/ tonne fob Korea. Bids were heard at US$360-365/tonne cfr NEA. Business for 3000 tonne for June loading was settled at around US$360-365/tonne fob Korea. Solvent-grade prices were stable and producers maintained expectations of US$365- 370/tonne fob Korea. The reduction in production by Yeochun NCC was expected to keep prices firm in the coming weeks.
Styrene: Adequate availability and weak derivative markets continued to exert pressure on prices. Inter trader business was reported at US$470-480/tonne fob Korea. Some buying interest could be traced at US$500/tonne cfr China with 90 days credit, well below producers' offers of US$500- 510/tonne fob NEA.
Reports that poor markets had forced a SEA producer to extend an ongoing plant turnaround could not be confirmed as ACN went to press.
Idemitsu Petrochemical has trimmed the operating rates of its plants in Tokuyama, Japan, by 10% to 80%.
Paraxylene: Markets were quiet with buyers and sellers in no rush to conclude business. Producers continued to look for US$440- 450/tonne fob Korea, US$20-25/tonne below Southeast Asian buying ideas.
Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC) is expected to decide by mid-June whether it will increase its paraxylene production in July. It stopped production at two lines last month due to poor economics. To meet domestic commitments CPC bought 10 000 tonne at end-May. The cargoes were expected to arrive late last week.
SK Corp restarted its 350 000 tonne/year No1 plant on 4 June after a maintenance shutdown.
Orthoxylene: Markets were firm and producers gained support from tight availability, strong mixed xylene prices and a recovery in phthalic anhydride markets. Offers were stable at US$405-420/tonne fob NEA. Buyers were willing to pay US$430/tonne cfr China, but no business was reported. Phenol: Chinese buying ideas fell by US$10/tonne and some buyers were reported to be asking US$480/tonne cif China with 60-90 days credit. Others asked for US$490/tonne cif China with credit. A few producers were determined not to settle below US$510-520/ tonne cif China. Bids from traders were at US$490/ tonne cif China.
|Asia/Pacific spot||US/Euro contracts|
|NE Asia1||SE Asia2||US3||NWE4|
|Benzene||2957||297 fob SEA7||1.17/gal||380|
|Toluene||335||320-325 fob SEA7||na||420|
|Xylenes6||360-365 fob NEA||345-350 fob SEA7||1.32||na|
|Phenol||490-5207||5807||39.5 Q2||1700 Apr5|
1 prices are fob Korea unless otherwise indicated2 prices are cfr SEA unless otherwiseindicated 3 US prices are May contract levels in cent/lb on an fob basis, courtesy of ECN, unless otherwise stated4 European free-delivered Q2 contract prices in Euro/tonne unless otherwise stated5 DM/tonne6 Isomer grade7 no recent confirmed dealsna = not availablePrices contained in this report are obtained by the ACN team through consultation with producers, consumers and merchants in the regions indicated. 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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