Europe January benzene contract price not fully settled

02 January 2012 13:13  [Source: ICIS news]

By Julia Meehan

Europe January benzene yet to settleLONDON (ICIS)--The European January benzene contract price has not yet been fully agreed because there are two numbers in the market, sources said on Monday.

“There is a dispute on the actual price and there are two settlements, one at $1,108/tonne and one at $1,115/tonne,” said a benzene trader.

Late on Friday 30 December, a benzene producer said it had agreed its January contract price at $1,115/tonne, but an exchange rate or euro number was not confirmed at the time.

On Monday 2 January, a major buyer said it had agreed its January benzene contract price at €860/tonne and quoted its dollar price as $1,108/tonne.

The buyer said: “Without the details in front of me I unable to confirm the official exchange rate used, but you can make a calculation.”

It is currently unclear why there are two numbers in the market.

In relation to this, a trader said: “I am in the dark as well, but they [the producers and consumers] will try and agree on one number.”

Meanwhile, a major buyer of phenol for its bisphenol A (BPA) production was not surprised that the January benzene contract price looked set to move up by approximately €188-189/tonne from December.

“I am not surprised if indeed these are the numbers in the market because this is what we had calculated in our system,” the BPA maker said.

Meanwhile, news of a final benzene contract price for January was eagerly awaited by downstream sectors, with major producers in markets such as caprolactam and adipic acid, querying if there was a final benzene settlement figure.

A sizable increase was expected for January, following a lower than expected December settlement and firming spot prices throughout the month on the back of rising crude values, higher US pricing and strong pull from the styrene market following several restarts earlier this month.

The December benzene contract price settled at €671/tonne FOB (free on board) NWE (northwest Europe).

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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