30 August 2004 17:11 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The European paraxylene (PX) contract price for September appeared to have settled on Monday at Euro715/tonne free delivered Northwest Europe (FD NWE) after another major supplier accepted the Euro85/tonne rise over August.
ExxonMobil has followed BP in endorsing the 13.5% rise, CNI learned today from PX market sources.
A separate source within Shell said that paraxylene prices had to move up in line with other aromatics numbers. Spot xylenes prices have risen strongly in recent weeks, although they have appeared relatively stable when contrasted with the meteoric rise in benzene and other aromatics prices over the past few months.
Paraxylene prices have increased due to higher mixed xylenes values which have risen from $610/tonne FOB (free on board) Rotterdam in July to around $750/tonne by the end of August.
The Shell source said he was concerned about a margin squeeze downstream as a relatively cool summer (Q3) in Europe has cut demand for bottled soft drinks and water. Demand for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles has been soft, and European prices went down about Euro 40/tonne this month.
The driver for the global PET and intermediates market is Asia, however. Prices for PET in Asia have risen dramatically in the past month, going up around $60/tonne in the last week.
European producers of PET will be under pressure to raise prices in September to reflect the higher feedstock costs, and firmer Asian PET prices.
There is still no September settlement in the US, according to Brian Balboa of the Houston office of global price reporting and market intelligence service ICIS LOR*. He said producers are looking for increases of 6.00 cents/lb to bring the price to 41.75 cents/lb. Consumers in the US are reluctant to discuss any pricing outlook for September. According to Balboa, market insiders have noted September may see an increase based on higher feedstock costs.
*ICIS-LOR is owned by the same publishing company as CNI.
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