07 February 2011 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Too much naphtha in Europe has seen the crack spread slump to minus $4.85/bbl - down $8.55/bbl in four weeks. Poor demand has left the market oversupplied.
For the fourth time in five months, US butadiene (BD) contracts could face yet another split settlement. Nominations for February are 5-9 cents/lb above January's 91 cent/lb ($2,006.19/tonne) contract, which will put BD at 97 cents/lb if it settles at the lowest nominated price as usual. However, two suppliers have already suggested they will not match this figure, leading to another potential split contract.
Meanwhile, the US benzene February contract is at $4.35/gal - the third-highest price of all time. The 51 cent/gal hike comes after spot prices firmed and availability of prompt material tightened.
Similarly, European benzene leapt, with the settlement up €122/tonne at €1,001/tonne FOB Northwest Europe (NWE) - equivalent to $1,373/tonne. In Asia, Japan's JX Nippon Oil & Energy raised its February Asian Contract Price (ACP) by $100/tonne. The ACP at $1,130/tonne followed spot spikes - which were tracking strong gains in the US and Europe.
Rising spot numbers and volatile energy costs have combined to push the US mixed xylenes (MX) 5211-grade contract 19 cents/gal higher to $3.30/gal FOB.
Asia's paraxylene (PX) ACP for February also saw a hefty $240/tonne increase, taking it to $1,620/tonne. Players attribute the upsurge to extremely tight supply.
Prices for European methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) have reached 28-month highs, boosted by tightness, strong demand and firm gasoline values. MTBE was pegged at $1,010-1,016/tonne FOB Amsterdam, Rotterdam last Monday. Gasoline values have been pushed up by higher crude oil prices - with Brent crude moving above $100/bbl for the first time since October 2008.
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