17 July 2008 17:52 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--Seven days after a heavily traded, record-breaking week the European spot benzene market has ground to a halt on a lack of buyer and seller activity alongside perceived forward length, players said on Thursday.
July was valued at $1,400-1,430/tonne (€882-901/tonne) CIF (cost, insurance and freight) ARA (?xml:namespace>
Benzene buyers, sellers and traders were watching the market nervously, unsure as to what positions they should take.
“I think people are holding back, uncertain what to do,” said one trader. “Benzene demand should still be there, but crude has lost so much that it is hard to tell where the market should be.”
Another trader said that the July market had been extremely resilient to crude’s heavy losses, and that buyers were now holding back waiting to see it fall further.
“I would say that we went so high last week that everybody who had to do something got it done,” he said. “Now crude is down, and people expect lower numbers.”
This week has seen only a handful of trades, with the forward market falling steeply on expectations of tens of thousands of tonnes of imports in August.
Players attributed the slowing market to the absence of two key producers from the market who had done the lion’s share of buying during the previous week and energy complex value volatility seen over the past few days.
An influx of material in August would saturate the market, players said, although there was little prompt material currently available.
Benzene had traded at all-time highs in the week ending 11 July, pushed up by tight supply on the back of cracker outages and widespread industry buying, with July business set at a record $1,445/tonne CIF ARA.
($1 = €0.63)
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