Phenol spot prices rise to 39-42 cents/lb in US Gulf

17 February 2006 20:30  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Stronger benzene prices have pushed February and March phenol spot prices up to 39-42 cents/pound ($859-925 or Euro719-775/tonne) free on board (FOB) US Gulf, traders said on Friday.

March business was done on Friday at 42 cents/pound FOB adding around 4 cents/pound to January spot numbers. Traders said they were working deals for 42-45 cents/pound on cargoes to Latin America.

January spot prices were 35-38.5 cents/pound FOB, according to global petrochemical pricing and market intelligence service ICIS-LOR. Prices have increased following a feedstock benzene price hike earlier this month.

The February benzene contract settled up 40 cents/gallon at $2.86 gal FOB, the second-highest February settlement on record, according to ICIS-LOR data.

Turnarounds at some Asian plants could cause US Gulf spot phenol prices for export to increase further, producers and traders said.

Chang Chun Plastics, the Taiwanese phenol-acetone producer, plans a five-week turnaround at its 325,000 tonne/year unit in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, beginning on 23 February. It is the first of seven phenol-acetone plant shutdowns scheduled from February to April in Asia.

Traders expect the shutdowns to put upward pressure on regional phenol and acetone prices in the coming months. Prices have started creeping up in anticipation, producers and traders said.

By: Heather McGuire Doyle
+1 713 525 2653

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