28 May 2010 22:03 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The June contract price for US benzene settled down by 57 cents/gal, or 16%, versus May on a drastic fall in spot prices throughout the past month, sources said on Friday.
The June benzene price was agreed upon at $2.95/gal ($897/tonne, €727/tonne) on FOB (free on board) US Gulf (USG) terms, multiple sources confirmed. That compared with the May contract at $3.52/gal FOB USG.
The June benchmark was in line with market predictions, but slightly lower than spot prices at the end of the week.
By Friday, USG benzene traders talked June DDP (delivery, duty paid) barges at $3.03-3.07/gal in response to firm trades in the European market and positive economic sentiment in the US, according to ICIS pricing.
May/June spot deals had been as low as $2.90/gal DDP HTC (Houston-Texas City), a level not seen since October 2009.
The US aromatics sector saw prices nose dive in the middle of the month in response to lower crude oil values.
A source said energy prices and marcoeconomic factors - such as equities and the European debt crisis - were driving benzene prices more than supply and demand.
Major US benzene producers include BP, ExxonMobil, Flint Hills Resources, LyondellBasell, Shell, Sunoco and Total.
($1 = €0.81)
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