US November phenol contract falls 2% on weaker benzene

09 December 2011 21:25  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US November phenol contract settled lower by 3%, mostly because of weaker benzene costs, sources said on Friday.

The November contract price fell by 2.44 cents/lb ($54/tonne, €40/tonne) from the October price, matching a corresponding fall of 18 cents/gal for November benzene.

This pushed November formula-based phenol contracts down to 70.64-75.09 cents/lb FRT EQ (freight equalised).

Producers and buyers said that with phenol demand softer in November compared with October, especially from the phenolic resins and polycarbonate (PC) markets, freely negotiated phenol contracts for November fell by 2.5 cents/lb.

With December benzene down by 15 cents/gal, formula based December phenol contracts are expected to fall by 2.04 cents/lb.

As phenol operating rates have fallen in the fourth quarter of 2011, it remains to be seen if slightly tighter supply will move freely negotiated phenol contracts to flat with formula-based contracts, or if freely negotiated deals will remain at a slight discount.

Major US phenol producers include Dow Chemical, Georgia Gulf, Honeywell, INEOS Phenol, SABIC Innovative Plastics and Shell Chemical.

($1 = 0.75)

For more on phenol visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: John Dietrich

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