NewsFlashUS toluene spot prices at 5 month high

14 March 2006 16:50  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--April nitration-grade toluene spot prices in the US surged to a five-month high on Tuesday morning due to strong premium gasoline cash prices in the US Gulf (USG), aromatics traders said.

April n-grade toluene spot business was done Tuesday morning at $2.47/gal free on board (FOB) USG ($750/tonne or Euro630/tonne), twice at $2.50/gal FOB USG and $2.52/gal FOB USG, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

Prices of the four spot deals were the highest since the week ended 15 October, 2005 when toluene spot numbers reached an intra-week high of $2.80/gal FOB USG.

US Gulf premium, or V-grade, gasoline cash prices surged past $2/gal on Monday for the first time since early October 2005, when Hurricane Rita caused many US Gulf refineries to stop production.

Higher V-grade gasoline prices, as well as the regular-to-premium differential holding above 20 cents/gal, caused gasoline toluene spot prices to hit a 5-month high. Toluene can be used a gasoline octane enhancer.

If the jump in toluene spot prices is sustained into the second half of March, toluene truck/railcar prices could see increases. No increases had been announced by any suppliers as of early Tuesday.

ExxonMobil, Flint Hills Resources, and Citgo are major suppliers of toluene for the truck and railcar markets.

By: Aaron Goetze
+1 713 525 2653

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