06 March 2012 09:29 [Source: ICIS news]By Ariel Chen
Toluene prices, which are higher than xylene prices, are supporting the xylene market, the traders said.
Toluene and xylene are produced in aromatics plants and toluene prices are usually yuan (CNY) 100-200/tonne ($16-32/tonne) lower than xylene prices because of the difference in production costs, they said.
Solvent-grade xylene prices were at CNY9,250/tonne ex-tank at Zhangjiagang on 5 March from CNY8,975-9,000/tonne ex-tank at Zhangjiagang on 15 February, according to Chemease, an ICIS service in
Toluene prices rose by CNY550-600/tonne to CNY9,250-9,300/tonne ex-tank at Zhangjiagang in the same period, the data showed.
Xylene supplies are expected to be tight in east
Another factor contributing to the tight supply is a decline in xylene imports into east
South Korean producer Yeochun NCC (YNCC) is on track to shut its No 2 aromatics unit at Yeosu on 20 March for a month-long turnaround, a company source said. The unit can produce 120,000 tonnes/year of benzene, 60,000 tonnes/year of toluene and 40,000 tonnes/year of solvent-grade xylene.
Meanwhile, demand from the downstream paraxylene (PX) sector has been rising since the start of this year because of several expansions in the purified terephthalic acid (PTA) sector, the traders said.
The rising demand is supporting PX and xylene prices, they added.
($1 = CNY6.31)
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