Europe May OX contract rolls over

16 May 2012 11:32  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The European May orthoxylene (OX) contract has rolled over from the previous month and remains at a record high of €1,180/tonne ($1,494/tonne), sources confirmed on Wednesday.

The settlement was agreed on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis.

“Europe remains very tight,” one producer said. “Asian prices are slightly lower, the US settled at a rollover. It [the rollover] is a compromise.”

OX prices in Asia plunged $80–90/tonne to $1,490–1,520/tonne CFR (cost & freight) NE (northeast) Asia for the week ending 11 May, in tandem with sharp drops in Brent crude futures. US May contract prices fell by 4.2%, tracking lower Asian values and softer demand in that region.

OX contract prices in Europe have been increasing since January, and the market has seen gains of €260/tonne since the beginning of the year.

The OX spot price is at $1,650–1,700/tonne FOB (free on board) Rotterdam.

The market has tightened with scheduled turnarounds in Europe during April and May.

With 20% of European capacity out of the market because of planned turnarounds at some plants during April and May, availability is limited. Some estimates say the market is short by 6,000 tonnes.

OX is largely used in the production of phthalic anhydride (PA) and is generally extracted by distillation from a mixed xylenes (MX) stream in a plant primarily designed for paraxylene (PX) production.

($1 = €0.79)

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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