India toluene slumps 9% from early May on poor demand, weak rupee

22 May 2012 09:09  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Toluene prices in the Indian domestic market have shed about 9% since early May, dragged down by declines in Brent crude futures, weak demand, as well as the depreciation of the Indian rupee, market sources said.

On an ex-tank basis, toluene prices are at Rs65.00-66.00/kg ($1,182-1,200/tonne) on Tuesday in the western Indian ports of Kandla and Mumbai, down by Indian rupees (Rs) 6.50-7.00/kg lower from 4 May 2012, according to ICIS data.

Sentiment is bearish among sellers, as well as buyers, following the heavy falls in crude and in Asian toluene prices last week.

“There is panic in the market … people are just selling off [cargoes],” said an India-based trader.

But deals are few and far between as demand in the domestic market is slow these days amid a general weakening of the Indian economy, market sources said.

“Demand looks very bad…there is no direction,” said a second trader and distributor.

Due to weak end-user demand, payments for toluene trades are being delayed, with some paying on an instalment basis, some traders said.

There are also concerns that the rupee could depreciate further in the coming days, heightening a sense of panic in the market, traders said.

“From March to today, there has been an 11% drop in the currency [rupee-US dollar exchange rate],” the second trader said.

($1 = Rs54.98)

By: Mahua Chakravarty
+65 6780 4359

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