Asia Dec PX prices affected by expectations of deep-sea arrivals

27 October 2011 13:01  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Prices of December shipments of paraxylene (PX) in Asia have been lower than for November as traders are expecting the arrival of at least 30,000 tonnes of material from the US, sources said on Thursday.

November PX shipments were traded at $1,560/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Taiwan and/or China Main Port (CMP) on 27 October, while December parcels were discussed around $1,530/tonne CFR Taiwan and/or CMP, a difference of $30/tonne.

Traders said ExxonMobil is shipping 18,000 tonnes of material from Baytown to Indonesia and China during the period, while BP is expected to move around 12,000 tonnes of PX into Asia.

ExxonMobil is also understood to be moving 5,000 tonnes of material from Europe, as Artlant was understood to be experiencing difficulties in starting up its new purified terephthalic acid (PTA) unit in Portugal, but this could not be immediately confirmed.

“It is not our practice to discuss commercial or trade arrangements. ExxonMobil operates globally; supply and logistics optimisation is part and parcel of how we do business. We continually evaluate how best to employ our global assets and capabilities,” said a spokesperson from ExxonMobil in an emailed response to ICIS when asked about the cross-Pacific trade.

Officials from BP could not be immediately reached for comment.

The US Gulf (USG) to Asia arbitrage was not technically open on paper, but traders said that demand for PX was weak in the US as PTA makers had already scaled back on production rates due to squeezed margins.

Prices of PX in the US were last assessed at $1,477–1,521/tonne FOB (free on board) USG in the week ending on 21 October, according to ICIS data. Trans-Pacific freight costs for a 10,000-tonne shipment were around $63/tonne.

With additional reporting by Lester Teo

For more on PX visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Bohan Loh
+65 6780 4359

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