Recent US benzene price run up will not persist – US marketer

14 February 2012 20:39  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Although the US January benzene contract moved above the $4.00/gal mark, one petrochemical marketing group said on Tuesday that the recent increase should be short-lived.

“We do not believe this over $4.00 price has legs, and our belief is supported by current spot,” said Wilf Kimball, vice president for The Plaza Group.

A month earlier, The Plaza Group said it did not expect benzene contract prices to surpass the $4.00/gal mark, because of softer domestic demand from downstream products.

The February benzene contract settled at $4.20/gal ($1,257/tonne, €955/tonne), up 50 cents/gal from January.

“The US is still showing low phenol rates, and the arbitrage on styrene is closed,” Kimball said. “Increasing benzene pricing in Asia could potentially have a positive impact in the US, either with direct benzene shipments or derivatives. However, it is probably too soon to predict the impact.”

($1 = €0.76)

By: Brian Balboa
+1 713 525 2653

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