Chemical market trends: Asia aromatics up; Europe and US BD drops

01 November 2010 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Butadiene (BD) contract prices are falling in Europe and the US. In Europe, the monthly contract price (MCP) has settled down by €75/tonne to €1,250/tonne. The drop reflects the softer European supply and demand balance, said a major consumer. Spot prices have been softening in the past two months because of better-than-expected supply and a weak export market. The downward momentum had recently stalled because of the effect of the French strikes.

In the US, two BD producers have nominated a decrease of 2.00 cents/lb ($44/tonne) for November, putting contracts at 84.00 cents/lb. Again, the drop is because of ample supply and softening ­demand. Two more US suppliers have yet to nominate.

Japan's JX Nippon Oil & Energy has posted its November Asian contract price (ACP) for benzene $130/tonne higher because of firmer spot prices. The nomination, at $1,000/tonne, reflects a recent uptrend in spot values to $1,000/tonne FOB Korea following a rally in crude futures.

Another Japanese producer, Nihon Oxirane, has also ­announced an increase in its ­styrene contract price for November. The company has nominated a price of $1,290/tonne, up by $110/tonne from October. Again, soaring spot prices are behind the rise.

The US methanol contract seems virtually certain to go ­beyond the year's high of $110 cents/gal. Spot prices have shot up for the third week in a row, with a November spot sale done at 115 cents/gal (see page 16).

Meanwhile, a planned turn-around at Venezuela's Metanol de Oriente No. 1 methanol plant could be delayed until the first half of 2011. The company is reported to be evaluating whether it wants to interrupt production at this time because of the plant's ­excellent performance.

By: Andy Brice
+44 20 8652 3214

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