04 August 2011 12:31 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Prices of Asia isomer-grade xylene (IX) and paraxylene (PX) firmed by $5–10/tonne on Thursday despite weaker crude futures as traders predicted tightness in supply for material in the fourth quarter of the year.
Prices for IX rose by $10/tonne (€7/tonne) to $1,325–1,340/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea, while PX values were stable-to-firm at $1,600–1,610/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Taiwan and/or China Main Port (CMP).
Supply of PX in Asia was expected to be tighter in the fourth quarter of the year as Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) will be taking its 820,000 tonne/year unit in Shuaiba down for three weeks of maintenance following the discovery of a technical glitch.
PIC will run the unit at 80–85% of nameplate capacity until October.
Talk of a 55-day shutdown at Esso Thailand’s 500,000 tonne/year plant in Sri Racha from mid-September also helped to buoy sentiment among regional producers and traders, although the talk could not be confirmed.
PX parcels for September loading were heard sold in Thailand at premiums of $7–9/tonne to 50% Asia Contract Price (ACP): 50% spot average of published CFR Taiwan prices on 4 August, underscoring the expected tighter domestic supply.
August loading Thai PX was heard sold at a small discount to the published price in mid-July.
The PX second-half August/September inter-month swap was valued at parity, while the September/November spread was talked of in a $5/tonne backwardation.
Traders said valuations were likely to flip into a contango over the next few days as supply for October shipments tighten due to a series of upcoming turnarounds in the fourth quarter of the year.
($1 = €0.70)
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