11 February 2011 13:35 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European spot paraxylene (PX) prices have exceeded pre-crisis levels, following a deal agreed at $1,700/tonne (€1,258/tonne), because the market is so tight, sources said on Friday.
“The range is either side of $1,700/tonne and a deal was done earlier in the week at $1,700/tonne,” said a producer.
In July 2008, just before the global economic crisis, spot PX was valued at $1,680-1,695/tonne, still some $290-295/tonne short of the record high recorded on 17 March 1995, when spot PX was trading at $1,970-1,990/tonne FOB (free on board) Rotterdam.
Despite the current strength of PX in Europe, the producer expected prices to start easing as a result of BP’s force majeure (FM) on its downstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant at Geel, Belgium.
Lotte Chemical UK also declared FM on supplies from its 500,000 tonne/year PTA plant at Wilton in the UK after a utility supplier failed to deliver the required hydrogen.
However, talking about what impact the FMs in PTA would have on PX, an active trader said: “Nothing, all [the PX] is absorbed by other systems that are very tight.”
Meanwhile, the PX market is seen as globally short and this, alongside steep hikes in the value of PX in Asia, has boosted European prices in recent months.
One producer said it was out of the spot market but was receiving numerous inquiries from Europe and the US.
“I am not in the spot market but I am getting lots of enquiries from European buyers and the US. I think there is strong demand in the US because of the bad weather problems,” she said.
($1 = €0.74)
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