28 January 2011 08:14 [Source: ICIS news]
By Mahua Chakravarty
The window for arbitrage trades between Asia and the West was wide open following recent surge in benzene values in the US and European markets, which could push Asian prices higher in the near term, traders said.
“There is more room for Asian benzene values to go up,” said a Korean seller.
Asian prices were $190-255/tonne (€139-186/tonne) lower than US benzene prices and $245-250/tonne less than European prices.
Exporters enjoy healthy margins as these price gaps were much higher than the current cost of shipping benzene from
Freight rates from
About 80,000 tonnes of benzene cargoes left the Asian shores in January for the
Meanwhile, sources from the shipping industry cited about 20,000 tonnes of Asian benzene fixtures bound for ARA (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp) late last week.
Spot benzene prices in Asia slipped $20-25/tonne on Friday morning to $1,125-1,135/tonne FOB (free on board)
But market players said the price weakness would be short-lived as Asian benzene would still have to catch up with the strong US and European values.
On Thursday, European benzene values were at $1,370-1,385/tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) ARA, while US benzene was at $4.40-4.65/gal or $1,315-1,390/tonne FOB Barges, according to ICIS.
($1 = €0.73)
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