Asia benzene firms $40–50/tonne on crude and tight supply

04 July 2012 13:28  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Benzene prices in Asia surged by $40–50/tonne on Wednesday on the back of tight supply, firmer Brent crude futures and higher European and US benzene prices seen overnight on Tuesday, traders said.

Spot prices in Asia were assessed at $1,130–1,150/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea on Wednesday, $40–50/tonne (€32–40/tonne) higher than Tuesday’s close, according to ICIS.

Sentiment was firm from Wednesday morning, with offers for August loading at $1,170/tonne FOB Korea against bids at $1,140/tonne FOB Korea, $50/tonne higher than a deal heard on Tuesday.

However, prices eased on Wednesday afternoon as energy prices slipped in Asian trading, said traders.

Offers for August loading slipped by $20/tonne on Wednesday afternoon to $1,150/tonne FOB Korea and met bids at $1,115/tonne FOB Korea.

The overnight firm trend in crude futures along with price increases in the US and Europe seen late on Tuesday supported the upturn in Asian prices, said two Singapore-based traders.

Meanwhile, tight supply of prompt cargoes in Asia also allowed some traders to step out and offer prompt cargoes at higher prices, said a key Singapore-based trader.

Asian benzene prices for prompt months have been on an uptrend in the past two weeks because of price hikes in the US benzene market, in which prompt supply is also tight, the trader added.

Spot benzene prices have risen by $125–130/tonne since 25 June to $1,130–1,150/tonne FOB Korea assessed on 4 July.

The price hikes for prompt July and August loading cargoes in Asia have also pushed up prices for forward month September lifting lots, said the trader.

($1 = €0.79)

By: Mahua Chakravarty
+65 6780 4359

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