UpdateAsia benzene plunges on crude, follows overnight US dip

21 May 2010 05:37  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Asia’s benzene values fell by $45-50/tonne (€36-40/tonne) on Friday to hit a seven-month low on the back of falling crude futures and an overnight drop in the US benzene market, traders said.

“The market really fell [as] US went to $2.90/gal [last night],” a regional trader said.

Spot values were assessed at $790-805/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea, $45-50/tonne lower than Thursday’s close and a whopping $145-150/tonne lower than last Friday’s closing level, according to ICIS pricing.

The last time prices went below $800/tonne FOB Korea was on 4 November 2009.

Offers for any July loading cargoes touched $805/tonne FOB Korea towards mid-day on Friday, $42/tonne lower than Thursday’s closing deals. A bid was countered at $790/tonne FOB Korea, indicating a sharp drop in buying sentiment.

The steady fall in crude futures seen this week was the key driving factor for the dip in global benzene values, market participants said.

US benzene prices hit $2.85-2.95/gal FOB Barges late Thursday night, 5-10 cents lower than the previous close.

Asia is a major exporter of benzene to the US on monthly basis, as the region is net oversupplied.

($1 = €0.80)

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By: Mahua Chakravarty
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