ExxonMobil issues 3 cts/lb hike on toluene, xylene

16 March 2006 18:39  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--ExxonMobil plans a 3 cents/pound ($66 or Euro55/tonne) increase on toluene and xylene distribution prices, effective 1 April, in response to the jump in spot barge prices for both solvents, distributors said on Thursday.

It was unclear if customers would accept the price increase. No other increases had been announced for either solvent by mid-day Thursday.

ExxonMobil does not comment on product pricing.

April toluene spot barge prices surged to $2.52/gallon, free on board (FOB), US Gulf on Tuesday, a five-month high, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing. The April bid/offer range moderated on Thursday to $2.44-2.48/gallon FOB US Gulf due to declining gasoline futures prices.

US Gulf toluene truck prices were 35 cents/pound FOB US Gulf, or $2.53-3.54/gallon. Truck/railcar prices are usually 3-5 cents/pound above barge numbers. However, the spread was only about 1 cent/pound on Thursday and was non-existent on Tuesday.

Soaring US Gulf gasoline cash prices caused toluene barge numbers to increase, as toluene can be used as an octane enhancer. On Tuesday, US Gulf premium gasoline cash prices moved past the $2/gal mark for the first time since early October 2005.

Mixed xylene spot barge prices also increased to $2.52/gallon FOB US Gulf on Tuesday due to stronger gasoline cash prices. Truck/railcar prices were 37 cents/pound FOB US Gulf, or $2.68-2.69/gallon FOB US Gulf.

Although there was a 2-2.5 cents/pound spread between truck prices and barge prices, it was still smaller than the typical 3-5 cents/pound delta.

By: Aaron Goetze
+1 713 525 2653

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