08 October 2001 09:09 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (CNI)--Aromatics traders and sellers were today divided over the direction of aromatics prices following the US military strikes on Afghanistan.
Some traders believe that if crude and naphtha prices do not rise significantly in response to any interuption of supply caused by the military campaign, then a downward correction in toluene prices is inevitable.
"Toluene is being offered by Asian producers at $300-340 (Euro326-370)/tonne FOB Korea, when naphtha is only around $200/tonne CFR Asia," said one trader.
In a sign of what could be more to follow, Chinese producers on Monday revised down their toluene offers by Rmb200 ($24/Euro26) for October lifting from Rmb3500/tonne in late September. Chinese buyers and sellers returned to the market today after their week-long break last week.
The direction of crude is uncertain following the strikes, although this morning naphtha traders said that military action had already been factored into crude and naphtha prices last Friday, before the launch of the air campaign.
However, sellers stressed that it was far too early to make any firm predictions.
But one seller lent support to the traders' view when he said that South Korean BTX producers have high inventories of naphtha and are therefore not overly concerned about an interruption in supply.
"Producers have been building up their inventories since 11 September," noted a BTX trader.
The US and Japanese aromatics markets were closed today because of national public holidays.
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