29 September 2005 11:14 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--The first European fourth quarter orthoxylene (OX) contract price was agreed at Euro730/tonne free delivered Northwest Europe (FD NWE) - up Euro120/tonne or 34% on Q3, Kevin Liu, managing director of Austrian phthalic anhydride (PA) producer Atmosa, said on Thursday.
He said a deal was agreed between Atmosa and Hungarian orthoxylene producer MOL.
"We accepted this offer late yesterday because we need to get a big increase on phthalic anhydride as soon as we can for October," Liu added.
An official responsible for managing MOL's orthoxylene product sales confirmed the settlement.
Other buyers and sellers including BASF and Total were also thought to be settling at Euro730/tonne but no confirmation was immediately available.
The deal between MOL and Atmosa was done at close to expected levels, although some suppliers had said on Wednesday they were looking for around Euro750/tonne FD NWE to recover margins.
Shortages in the US after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as well as high gasoline blend values increased price expectations for OX contract prices in Europe. Exxon’s force majeure on orthoxylene, declared on 13 September also lent strength to sellers’ arguments for higher prices.
The market became even tighter after Total’s 110,000 tonne/year orthoxylene unit was shut when strike action closed the company’s Gonfreville, France refinery and the reformer, blocking feedstock for xylenes plants.
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