Asia to export more than 50,000 tonnes benzene to US in March

16 March 2012 07:13  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s benzene exports to the US in March are expected to well exceed the 50,000 tonnes mark as an arbitrage window is open, traders said on Friday.

The region will load more than its regular shipments of about 40,000-50,000 tonnes of the aromatic molecules in March, amidst weak conditions in the downstream styrene monomer (SM) segment in Asia, they added.

Industry estimates suggest that about 49,535 tonnes of benzene was loaded from South Korea for the US shores between 1 to 14 March.

Meanwhile, the arbitrage window was open as US benzene prices were $45-67/tonne (€34-51/tonne) higher than Asia at $4.08-4.17/gal or $1,220-1,247/tonne FOB Barges late on Thursday.

In Asia, spot benzene was at $1,175-1,180/tonne FOB Korea on Friday morning, according to ICIS.

The estimated freight costs for shipping 9,000 tonnes of benzene from South Korea to the US was in the low to mid $50s/tonne, said shipping sources.

Additional reporting by Lester Teo

($1 = €0.76)

By: Mahua Chakravarty
+65 6780 4359

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