Corrected: US June phenol contracts assessed lower by 1.6% on benzene

29 June 2012 21:14  [Source: ICIS news]

Correction: In the ICIS story headlined "US June phenol contracts assessed higher by 1.6% on benzene" dated 29 June, please read the headline as “…contracts assessed lower …” instead of “…contracts assessed higher…”.
Please read in the first paragraph …contracts were assessed lower… instead of  …contracts were assessed higher…. A corrected story follows.

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US June phenol contracts were assessed lower by 1.6% from May levels on Friday, tracking weaker feedstock prices for June benzene.

US June phenol contracts were assessed lower by 1.36 cents/lb ($30/tonne, €24/tonne), pushing overall prices to 83.67-88.12 cents/lb FRT EQ (freight equalised).

May contract prices were assessed by ICIS at 85.03-89.48 cents/lb FRT EQ.

Buyers and producers confirmed that most contracts settled equal to the fall of June benzene, which dropped by 10 cents/gal.

However, several buyers and producers added that their premiums – also known as adders – over benzene costs are falling on weaker export opportunities.

“With there being no desire for spot material, adders are falling,” a buyer said. “Producers don’t have the leverage to sell it elsewhere.”

A Latin American market player echoed the remarks, saying spot phenol being sold out of the US and into South America is being done with low margins.

Domestic demand is steady, sources said, with downstream bisphenol A (BPA) operating rates strong because of good demand for polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resins.

However, demand from the phenolic resins sector is still soft, tracking the US construction and drilling markets.

Although material remains cheaper out of Asia, US buyers say they do not have enough downstream demand to justify importing material.

Major US phenol producers include Dow Chemical, Georgia Gulf, Haverhill Chemical, Honeywell, INEOS Phenol and Shell Chemical.

($1 = €0.80)

By: John Dietrich

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