US benzene spot prices down more than 20 cents this week

15 July 2005 19:33  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (CNI)--July benzene spot prices in the US fell more than 20 cents/gal this week, traders said Friday, citing weaker energy prices and soft buying sentiment for July spot benzene.


On Monday this week benzene spot business was done as high as $3.05/gal DDP Houston/Texas City (HTC). By early today, the July bid/offer range was reported at $2.80-2.84/gal FOB USG based on spot business done Thursday at $2.82/gal DDP HTC.


Several traders said yesterday’s $2.21/bbl drop in the August Nymex crude oil contract price helped drive benzene spot prices down to the low-$2.80s/gal.  Most participants in the benzene spot market argue that crude oil prices have minimal effect on benzene spot prices.  But others contend that such a large drop in crude prices cannot be ignored with respect to benzene and other aromatic spot prices.


Soft buying sentiment also pressed benzene spot prices. One trader said benzene spot prices were declining because of “simple supply/demand fundamentals.” Persistently slow styrene monomer (SM) spot exports from the US to Asia and Latin American also helped chill demand for spot benzene, a major feedstock for SM.


Falling benzene spot prices in Europe and Asia Pacific due to soft buying sentiment also were pulling down US benzene spot prices. Prompt benzene spot prices in Europe dropped from $900-930/tonne FOB Rotterdam (Rdam) to $800-825/tonne FOB Rdam this week. The $100/tonne drop in Europe translates into a 33-34 cents/gal decrease in five days.


Prompt benzene spot prices in Asia Pacific declined by a more moderate amount this week, from $900-925/tonne FOB Korea to $870-880/tonne FOB Korea, a 10-14 cents/gal drop.

By: Aaron Goetze
+1 713 525 2653

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