Europe May benzene contract price expected to fall by around 7%

29 April 2010 11:42  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Most players in the European benzene market expected the May contract price to settle down by around 7%, between $1,100-1,120/tonne (€836-851/tonne), they said on Thursday morning.

With the April contract confirmed at $1,190/tonne FOB (free on board) NWE (northwest Europe), this would indicate a drop of $70-90/tonne from the previous month.

Not all players were ready for predictions though.

“My crystal ball is blind,” one trader commented, adding that the market was difficult to peg with a premium paid for delivery in early May compared to delivery at any time in May, as the market was reportedly tight in the front month.

For most part of the week, prices for delivery in the first half of May were higher by approximately $20-30/tonne compared to any other May values.

With little business actually done, this meant that the May range was at some times more than $60/tonne wide, to incorporate all bids and offers that were heard for the month.

On Thursday morning, however, it appeared that the premium for early May was reduced to around $10-15/tonne only.

May deals for delivery at any time were reported at $1,095-1,105/tonne CIF (cost, insurance, freight) ARA (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp), and soon after industry sold at $1,115/tonne for delivery in early May.

“Any May has been talked at $1,100-1,105/tonne for the last few days, and early May was mostly at $1,110-1,125/tonne,” another trader said. “So my guess is that the contract will settle anywhere between $1,100-1,120/tonne, but closer to the $1,100/tonne mark.”

With reports of more than 25,000 tonnes of imports arriving from the US, players expected the front market to lengthen in the near future, thereby narrowing the backwardation.

Finally, with the euro weakening against the dollar since the April contract had been agreed, players thought that the May euro level could see a drop of around €45/tonne, to settle at around €838/tonne.

The May European benzene contract price was expected to settle on 30 April.

($1 = €0.76)

For more on benzene visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Madelon Ten Cate
+44 20 8652 3214

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