East China xylenes decline by up to CNY200/tonne from mid-March

29 March 2012 08:20  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--East China’s mixed xylene prices declined over two weeks since the middle of March amid bearish market fundamentals, regional traders said on Thursday.

The prices have fallen by yuan (CNY) 150-200/tonne ($24-32/tonne) ex-tank Zhangjiagang, the traders added.

Solvent-grade xylene prices were at CNY9,000-9,050/tonne  ex-tank Zhangjiagang on 28 March, compared to CNY9,200/tonne on 12 March, according to Chemease, an ICIS service in China.

Isomer-grade xylene prices were at CNY9,200-9,250/tonne ex-tank at Zhangjiagang on 28 March, compared to CNY9,350-9,400/tonne on 12 March, the data showed.

“The decline was mainly a result of an imbalance between supply and demand in the market” a trader said.

Inventory levels of both xylenes remain high at 125,000-130,000 tonnes in east China, according to Chemease.

“Trade was slow as only 15,000-20,000 tonnes xylenes were consumed by the end-users in March,” a trader said.

“Market demand [for solvent-grade xylenes] is still relatively weak because [the weather] has not warmed up,” a market source said.

“IX demand fell because of shutdowns at two downstream paraxylene (PX) plants for routine maintenance, namely Shanghai Petrochemical’s 600,000 tonne/year unit in Shanghai and Zhenhai Refining & Chemical’s 530,000 tonne/year plant at Ningbo in Zhejiang province,” the source added.

The trader added that the falling Asian xylene prices weakened the domestic market, causing the domestic prices to drop.

IX prices fell from $1,405-1,415/tonne (€1,054-1,061/tonne) FOB (free on board) Korea on 12 March to $1,335-1,350/tonne FOB Korea on 28 March, ICIS data showed.

“We have suffered a loss as the cost of cargoes is at around CNY9, 200-9,300/tonne,” a trader in east China said.

($1 = CNY6.30, $1 = €0.75)

Author: Vivian Liu

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