NPRA ‘10: April Europe benzene negotiations to be tough

28 March 2010 19:13  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--April contract negotiations for Benzene in Europe were likely to be tough because of continued volatility in the regional market, a buyer said on Sunday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), the buyer commented that while prices for prompt April delivery had stayed high, this was not an accurate indication of where the market was in the second quarter.

Everything is to play for, said the buyer. It really will depend on how negotiations unfold this month. The difference between prices for early and any April delivery is significant.

Prompt cargo was on average $50/tonne (38/tonne) higher than material for April, as a lack of imports and unexpected tightness in the market caught some players short. As a result, prices for ad hoc cargo spiked dramatically.

Nevertheless, most players believed that demand for benzene would start to wane in April and May due to several planned shutdowns in the downstream styrene sector. May benzene was currently backwardated by approximately $20-30/tonne.

The planned turnarounds will certainly impact demand [for benzene], the buyer added. The issues regarding supply will also have been fixed by then, so we expect to see benzene numbers come down significantly. It will certainly be an interesting couple of months.

Hosted by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), the IPC continues through Tuesday.

($1 = 0.75)

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By: Truong Mellor
+44 208 652 3214



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