Asia benzene plunges $50/tonne on weak crude, ample supply

28 January 2010 09:14  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Asia’s benzene market continued to falter this week, with prices falling $50/tonne (€35.5/tonne) on Thursday on the back of weak crude values and high benzene supply in the region, industry sources said.

Prices were hovering at $935-950/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea in the afternoon, they said.

The sharp decline in crude futures overnight remained a key factor for the bearish sentiment among benzene sellers, they added. Crude oil futures rebounded slightly to above $74/bbl on Thursday Asian trade.

Offers for any March loading heard at $970-980/tonne FOB Korea in the morning slipped to $950/tonne FOB Korea in early afternoon as bids were few. Bids were heard at $930/tonne FOB Korea, indicating weak buying sentiment.

Benzene supplies in Asia have remained high, with more cargoes available for March and April, which was adding pressure on spot prices, said traders and producers.

Majority of the Asian crackers, reformers, toluene disproportionation (TDP) and hydro-dealkylation (HDA) units were running at full steam due to healthy margins, compounding the supply glut in this region, market sources said.

Demand from the key downstream styrene monomer (SM) sector was also expected to wane from February, with the start of turnaround season at a number of facilities, they added.

($1 = €0.71)

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By: Mahua Chakravarty
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