JAPAN DISASTER: JX Nippon Oil nominates Apr benzene ACP higher

28 March 2011 05:47  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japanese aromatics major, JX Nippon Oil & Energy, nominated its April benzene Asia Contract Price (ACP) $20/tonne (€14/tonne) higher than the previous month’s settlement on the back of tighter availability in Japan following the quake, a company source said on Monday.

The company nominated the ACP last Friday at $1,210/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Asia, $60-75/tonne higher than the current spot levels.

JX expects that the Asian balance will be tighter due to the impact of the recent earthquake in Japan, the source added.

But spot benzene prices in Asia were hovering at $1,135-1,150/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea, down $5-10/tonne from last Friday’s close on the back of the recent downtrend in the US and European benzene values.

Sentiment has also been weak in the spot market due to the downturn in key downstream styrene monomer (SM) market, industry sources added.

Hence, the April nomination price was too high due to the pressured SM margins and poor market conditions there, said a Japanese buyer.

JX Nippon Oil settles the ACP on the last working day of the previous month.

The company is one of the largest producers of benzene in Asia, along with fellow Korean producer GS Caltex.

($1 = €0.71)

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By: Mahua Chakravarty
+65 6780 4359

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