US October benzene contract falls 19 cents/gal from September

30 September 2009 20:39  [Source: ICIS news]

Benzene contract price dropsHOUSTON (ICIS news)--October US benzene contract negotiations ended early with a full settlement at $2.60/gal ($782/tonne, €540/tonne), a drop of 19 cents/gal from from September’s contract price, buyers and sellers said on Wednesday.

The settlement was reached on 29 September, a day earlier than usual because many industry participants were preparing to travel to the European Petrochemical Association’s (EPCA) annual meeting in Berlin.

Benzene spot prices slipped by around 8% in late September, falling below $2.60/gal on a DDP (delivered, duty paid) basis during the last full week of the month.

A US producer said the settlement at $2.60/gal was around 5 cents less than expected and was inconsistent with snug supply in the domestic market.

“We won’t be long on benzene any time soon,” the producer said, adding that market participants were wary of a fourth-quarter downturn in demand.

Participants said low consumer confidence in the aromatic chemical feedstocks market was partly explained by memories of last year’s blistering dive in demand and commodity values.

Refineries, while scheduled to increase output as units started up after maintenance shutdowns, were unlikely to significantly boost benzene production in the immediate term, producers said.

Major US benzene producers include BP Chemical, ExxonMobil, Flint Hills Resources, LyondellBasell, Shell, Sunoco and Total.

($1 = €0.69)

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By: Landon Feller
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