17 May 2006 16:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--European spot toluene moved to records highs on Wednesday on signs that cargoes changed hands at up to $900 a tonne on strong demand from the gasoline pool.
"I have heard that May toluene deals were done this week in a range of $885-900/tonne free on board (FOB) Rotterdam," said a trader. "If this is true this is the highest level ever for toluene spot business."
At least two traders said that deals were done at this level but players involved in the trade could not be reached for confirmation.
Toluene spot offers in Europe peaked at $915/tonne FOB Rotterdam on Friday and continued to be discussed at either side of $900/tonne FOB Rotterdam this week.
The strength of European toluene was being driven by strong demand from the US as gasoline blenders sought alternative barrels to boost octane levels.
The phase-out of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in the run up to the start of the summer driving season has boosted values across the aromatics chain in the US in recent months and subsequently drawn barrels from an already tight European market.
The US market has since steadied after President George Bush allowed states to temporarily suspend the ban on MTBE after domestic gasoline prices shot up.
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