25 January 2011 20:51 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--The February US benzene contract will likely surpass $4.00/gal based on a surge in spot prices during January, market participants said on Tuesday.
Benzene spot prices were at $4.25-4.32/gal ($1,272-1,293/tonne, €929-944/tonne) FOB (free on board) on Tuesday, up from $3.85-4.00/gal FOB on 1 January, as assessed by ICIS.
The increase in spot levels was driven by tight supply availability for prompt spot delivery, as well as stronger crude prices during January.
One market source expected February benzene to settle anywhere within a range of $4.20-4.25/gal FOB.
The January benzene contract settled at $3.84/gal FOB, up 56 cents from $3.28/gal FOB in December.
February benzene contract nominations have not been disclosed, but a settlement is expected as early as Friday.Major US benzene producers include BP, ExxonMobil, Flint Hills Resources, LyondellBasell, Shell and Total.
($1 = €0.73)
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