APIC ’10: Asia toluene prices to fall further on supply glut

14 May 2010 13:17  [Source: ICIS news]

MUMBAI (ICIS news)--Toluene prices in Asia are likely to fall further in the coming weeks, after dipping by about $30-40/tonne (€24-32/tonne) this week, due to high supply in the region and weaker crude values, traders and producers said on Friday.

“Prices will drop further in the coming days,” said a key regional trader.

Toluene prices were hovering at about $820-840/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea on Friday, $30-40/tonne lower than the close on 7 May, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

A bearish trend in crude futures on Friday, currently at $73/bbl, exerted further pressure on market sentiment, which has been battered since March by the impact of record-high inventory levels in the region’s biggest market, China.

“We are not sure when these stocks would go down, and there are so many uncertainties now,” said a trader based in eastern China, adding that he expected that it could take about three to four months for stocks to decline.

Due to the oversupply, demand from Chinese importers have come to a virtual halt for more than a month as they were battling to draw down the almost 200,000 tonnes stored in shore tanks in eastern China, said local and regional traders.

Inventory had risen from early this year due to heavy imports, averaging at about 70,000 tonnes per month, reaching China on term and spot basis.

Importers in China had earlier expected that demand would be robust from downstream sectors, especially from gasoline blending, but this demand had yet to kick in, they added. 

As a result, sellers in South Korea and Japan were reported to be looking for buyers in southeast Asia and India.

Some China-based importers were also heard to be looking for buyers to resell term shipments, said market participants.

But the bearish sentiment in the market had also pushed buyers in southeast Asia and India to the sidelines, and a number of them preferred to wait, said traders.

In the Indian subcontinent, stocks were also high as a result of ample imports. This had also pushed buying interest lower, said local traders.

($1 = €0.80)

For more on toluene visit ICIS chemical intelligence
Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s Asian Chemical Connections blog
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry visit
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By: Mahua Chakravarty
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