Asia solvent xylene prices rise $70/t on tight supply, demand

06 February 2009 09:18  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Asia’s solvent-grade xylene prices have jumped $70/tonne (€54.75) or 13% within a week on the back of tight inventories and renewed buying interest from China after the lunar new year holidays, said traders and producers on Friday.

Prices were quoted around $600-620/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea until mid-day, $70/tonne higher than last Friday's close, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

Three deals were reported at $600-620/tonne FOB Korea for second-half February and March loading cargoes from mid-week.

Availability of the product has tightened in South Korea, China and southeast Asia as the majority of the regional crackers were either still operating well below 100% or had been shut down, said traders.

Also, fresh enquiries for spot parcels from China, the largest solvent market in Asia, after last week’s holiday was supporting the increases, they added.

Some Chinese traders were planning to snap up parcels ahead of the spring season when demand for solvents could pick up pace, said traders.

Solvent grade inventory levels within China had also dipped as some of the local producers were supplying less than usual volumes due to reduced operating rates and the use of toluene and mixed xylenes for gasoline blending, said local traders. No confirmation was available.

Tight supply of isomer grade xylene, which can be also used for solvent applications, was further exacerbating the tight supply in this region, said some traders.

(1$ = €.78)

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By: Mahua Chakravarty
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