UpdateAsia benzene hits 6-yr low at below $300/t

20 November 2008 09:43  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Asia’s benzene values fell below the $300/tonne mark, levels not seen since February 2002, on the back of lower crude values and weak market fundamentals, said traders and producers said on Thursday.


A deal was heard concluded at $290/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea for January loading on Thursday afternoon.


Weak demand from key downstream styrene monomer (SM) and phenol segments in the past months had weighed down on benzene, traders and producers said.


Prices have fallen by a hefty $695-705/tonne or 70-71% since 3 October 2008, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.


“Demand is very bad, and there is no place for benzene to go,” said a Korean trader, referring to the poor derivatives market situation and the closed arbitrage window for exports to the US.


The downtrend in crude values, which touched $52/bbl on Thursday, added pressure on benzene.


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By: Mahua Chakravarty
+65 6780 4359

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