29 November 2010 07:44 [Source: ICIS news]
By Mahua Chakravarty
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia is expected to remain in oversupply of benzene in the weeks ahead, given limited opportunities open to sellers to ship materials to the US, market players said on Monday.
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Asian spot prices were at $920-935/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea last Friday, while US benzene prices were at $3.20-3.26/gal or $956-974/tonne FOB Barges last Wednesday, according to ICIS.
Market players said they were finding it difficult to find other outlets for the strong benzene output from the region, where crackers and reformers were running at almost full steam.
Asia is a major exporter of benzene to the
A recent increase in freight rates for westbound cargoes from
But demand from US players for Asian November-loading cargoes had been weak, as these players were intent on keeping a low year-end inventory that will be subject to tax, in accordance with the US policy, market players said.
In the meantime, market conditions in the key downstream styrene monomer (SM) were weak, affecting sentiment in the Asian benzene market, traders said.
Demand for SM from the styrenics sector in
But benzene prices were being supported by naphtha.
“The naphtha-benzene price gap is smaller, so it’s difficult for benzene to decrease below $900/tonne,” said a Japanese trader.
Current spreads are currently lower than the $140-150/tonne required by
Naphtha prices were hovering at $805-808/tonne CFR (cost and freight)
($1 = €0.75)
With additional reporting by Lester TeoRead John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections
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