Europe August phenol contract up €132/tonne on benzene increase

01 August 2011 11:04  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The August European phenol contract price has increased by €132/tonne following the same increase in the value of the benzene contract, consumers confirmed on Monday.

August phenol settled on a pre-discounted basis at €1,430-1,470/tonne ($2,072-2,130/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

“Two weeks ago, a €70-90/tonne increase would have been my best guess,” a buyer said. “But a €132/tonne increase is a big one which we will just have to swallow,” the buyer said.

Last month, the phenol contract fell by €80/tonne following a decrease in benzene. “Prices are moving up and down like a rollercoaster,” the buyer added.

Phenol contracts in Europe are 100% linked to feedstock benzene, with the supply-and-demand dynamics of the market having little influence over the contract price.

In relation to the curent supply and demand balanced in Europe, availability is tight following the force majeure declared by INEOS Phenol on 15 July because of feedstock cumene supply problems.

“It’s almost impossible to buy spot material,” a buyer said. “Volumes are limited so we are just having to get by with what we can get.”

The major uses of phenol involve its conversion to plastics or related materials. Condensation with acetone gives bisphenol-A (BPA), a key building block for polycarbonates. Condensation with formaldehyde gives phenolic resins, the most famous of which is Bakelite. Hydrogenation of phenol gives cyclohexanone, an intermediate en-route to nylon.

($1 = €0.69)

For more on phenol visit ICIS chemical intelligence
Please visit the phenol ICIS plants and projects database


By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214



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