Arbitrage opportunity for Asia opens in the US Gulf

17 February 2011 20:55  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A 5,000-tonne parcel of paraxylene (PX) from Asia is heading to the US Gulf, and more may be on the way as an arbitrage window opens between the two regions, market sources said on Thursday.

Pricing and shipment details of the 5,000-tonne shipment were not known, but a market participant described tightness in the US PX market as a “very dire situation”.

Another market source said the US will likely import more Asian PX from suppliers and consumers.

Issues with ExxonMobil’s PX production at its Beaumont plant in Texas has caused a supply allocation since 1 January. The sales control was still in effect as of Thursday, according to a company spokesman.

Spot levels for US PX were notionally assessed at 81-83 cents/lb ($1,786-1,830/tonne, €1,322-1,354/tonne) FOB (free on board) to reflect stronger contract levels, up by 8.50-9.50 cents/lb.  

Latest Asia PX spot prices were at $1,655-1,665/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Taiwan on Thursday, up from $1,650-1,660/tonne last Friday.

Current Asia-Pacific freight rates out of the US Gulf for a 5,000-tonne parcel are $70-75/tonne.

PX is mainly used to make purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which often is used in polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a feedstock in the production of beverage bottles.

Other US PX producers include BP Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources and Chevron Phillips Chemicals.

 ($1 = €0.74)

For more on paraxylene, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Ruth Liao
+1 713 525 2637

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