02 February 2012 10:40 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The European benzene contract for February has been fully confirmed at €979/tonne ($1,288/tonne), up €114–119/tonne from last month, as the initial settlement received further support from players on Thursday.
The settlement was made at a US dollar concept of $1,283/tonne FOB (free on board) NWE (northwest Europe) and converted to the euro price at the agreed exchange rate of €1:$1.3105.
One major buyer initially confirmed the number on 31 January, adding that it had settled February volumes at this figures with all its suppliers. The number was later confirmed by two sellers.
After peaking at $1,310/tonne, CIF (cost, insurance & freight) ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp), the February market appeared to slow down as January drew to a close. Deals were confirmed at $1,270–1,280/tonne in the days leading up to the February contract settlement.
The sizeable gain for benzene this month, as well the €99/tonne increase for ethylene, is putting significant upward pressure on the styrene market ahead of the February barge settlement, which in light of a bearish spot market is making negotiations difficult.
“Producers will want to recover raw material costs,” said one trader. “But that is not being supported by styrene spot prices.”
($1 = €0.76)
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