23 August 2004 00:01 [Source: ACN]
Styrene: Prices softened slightly following a weakening in benzene costs. Two September deals for styrene, each for 2000 tonne, were concluded at US$1410/tonne fob Korea, US$60-80/tonne lower than in the previous week. There was another unconfirmed deal at US$1430/tonne fob Korea.
In the Chinese domestic market, prices were at Rmb14 300-14 400/tonne delivered, Rmb100-500/tonne lower than in the previous week.
Supply was expected to be tight in Japan, as Chiba Styrene Monomer had cut its operating rate because of mechanical problems. The plant will return to full capacity only after a maintenance shutdown in November. But the arrival of 60 000 tonne of US product in early September, of which 30 000 tonne would go to the spot market, was expected to provide some relief.
Benzene: Prices dropped after the US spot price weakened slightly in mid-week trading to US$4.02-4.05/gal, US$0.10/gal lower than in the previous week. In Asia, three September cargoes, each of 3000 tonne, were sold at US$1200-1210/tonne fob Korea, US$40-50/tonne lower than prices at end-July.
But in SEA, a September deal was concluded at US$1170/tonne fob Thailand, US$70/tonne higher than in the previous week. Offers rose to US$1190/tonne fob SEA later in the week.
Toluene: Prices continued to surge on the back of high demand and tight supply. Two September deals were concluded at US$800/tonne fob Korea, US$30-60/tonne higher than in the previous week. Offers increased to US$810-820/tonne fob Korea later in the week.
In SEA, a 2000-tonne September deal was concluded at US$790/tonne fob SEA.
In the Chinese domestic market, prices rose by Rmb200-400/tonne to Rmb8200-8300/tonne delivered.
Mixed xylenes: Trading activity was brisk. A producer sold a 3000-tonne September isomer-grade cargo to a trader at US$795/tonne fob Korea, US$45/tonne higher than in the previous week. In SEA, a producer planned to offer a September cargo at US$750-760/tonne fob SEA.
Offers for solvent-grade were at US$770/tonne fob Korea, while bids were US$10/tonne lower. In the Chinese domestic market, deals were concluded at Rmb7700-7800/tonne delivered, Rmb400-500/tonne higher than in the previous week. Demand was strong from the solvent sector.
Paraxylene: A Japanese producer settled the September contract price at US$810/tonne cfr Asia, US$70/tonne higher than its August settlement.
In the spot market, a September parcel was sold at US$885/tonne fob Korea, US$5/tonne higher than in the previous week. Offers in SEA were at US$880-900/tonne cfr SEA. A Japanese trader expected prices to stay strong throughout September owing to tight supply
But the situation is likely to ease in Q4, as Esso Thailand is due to increase its capacity by around 100 000 tonne/year to 520 000 tonne/year.
Orthoxylene: Trade was thin, as most producers chose to concentrate on mixed xylenes. A September deal for OX was concluded at US$800/tonne fob Korea, US$50/tonne higher than in the previous week. Taiwanese material was on offer at US$790/tonne cfr China.
Supply was expected to remain tight owing to limited availability of spot cargoes.
Phenol: Market activity was muted because of tight supply. Offers were at US$1580-1600/tonne cfr China for European material. Chinese domestic prices were at Rmb14 800-14 900/tonne delivered.
Bulk Chemical spot prices, US$/tonne
|Asia/Pacific spot||US/Euro contracts|
|NE Asia1||S Asia and SE Asia2||US3||NWE4|
|Benzene||1200-1210||1170 fob Thailand||930 July||895 Aug|
|Xylenes5||795||510 fob SEA6||551 July||na|
|Styrene||1410||680-6906||1427-1433 July||973-998 July|
|Paraxylene||885||880 fob Thailand||777 July||630 Aug|
|Orthoxylene||800||6806||694 July||585 Q3|
|Phenol||1550 cfr NEA6||1600 cfr SEA6||1036.17-1124.36 Q2||1319-1359|
2 Prices are cfr SEA unless otherwise indicated
3 US prices are contract levels in US$/tonne on an fob basis, courtesy of ECN, unless otherwise stated
4 European free–delivered contract prices in Euro/tonne unless otherwise stated
5 Isomer–grade 6 No recent confirmed deals na = not available
Prices 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. 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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