Europe July toluene confirmed at $1,100-1,135/tonne

07 July 2011 13:45  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European toluene contracts for July have been confirmed at $1,100-1,135/tonne (€770-795/tonne) FOB (free on board) NWE (northwest Europe), an increase of $10-25/tonne from the previous month due to tighter domestic availability, sources said on Thursday.

Late last week, one major buyer said that it had agreed two July contracts at $1,100/tonne and $1,110/tonne respectively.

Another producer said that it had agreed its July contracts within a range of $1,120–1,135/tonne, up by $25-30/tonne from June, on the back of limited domestic supply.

“July has been a difficult month to negotiate with customers,” said one supplier, who eventually agreed its monthly contract at $1,125/tonne.

Indeed, there have been mixed ideas voiced in the market concerning the current supply and demand environment in Europe, with a wide gap between buyers and sellers largely due to differing perceptions of current availability.

According to producers, healthy demand and a poor gasoline/toluene differential have both kept domestic availability limited.

Additionally, fewer parcels coming from eastern Europe, due to higher consumption in the region from derivative sectors, is keeping the NWE region tight.

One seller felt that with a lack of available spot material due to reduced production output and healthy internal demand, the only option for potential buyers was to import cargo from abroad.

As a result, the seller felt that European pricing should be in line with prices in the Asian or the US markets plus additional shipping and duty costs, bringing values up to the $1,180-1,200/tonne mark.

"We don’t see any spot sellers in the market. The market is well balanced, so any additional material will have to come from abroad,” the seller said.

However, this view was disputed by several buyers.

One buyer earlier this week said: “There is a wide gap [between producers and consumers]. Sellers are arguing that supply is tight, but we don’t see that."

Another trader added that while toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) grade cargo was tight in Europe, there is still ample supply of nitration-grade (n-grade) material available for purchase. The European contract quote is for TDI grade based on toluene with 99.9% purity.

($1 = €0.70)

For more on benzene and styrene visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Truong Mellor
+44 208 652 3214

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