Benzene prices in east China to rise in Q1 2012 on short supply

28 December 2011 04:22  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Domestic benzene prices in east China are expected to rise in the first quarter of 2012 on short supply as a result of a planned shut down, industry sources said on Wednesday.

Sinopec’s Zhenhai Refining & Chemical Company, located at Ningbo in Zhejiang province, plans to shut down its aromatics unit in February 2012 for scheduled maintenance, a company source said.

The unit, which can produce 440,000 tonnes/year of benzene, is the biggest benzene producer in east China, according to the source.

Domestic benzene prices rose by yuan (CNY) 50-100/tonne ($8-16/tonne) from 20 December to (CNY) 7,900-8,000/tonne ex-tank east China on 26 December, according to Chemease, an ICIS service in China.

Sinopec's east China and north China branches raised offers by (CNY) 150/tonne to (CNY) 7,850/tonne on 20 December, according to Sinopec.

However, the trading volume has been light because of the wide price gap between buying and selling ideas, along with the softened downstream demand such as styrene monomer (SM), phenol and aniline segments in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Benzene prices in the rest of China were expected to remain stable-to-firm in the first quarter of 2012.

In January and February prices in north and south China are expected to remain steady because of thin trading due to the Lunar New Year holidays though prices may move up in March on the back of increased demand after holidays and rising east China prices.

($1 = CNY 6.33)

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By: Crystal Zhao

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