US May phenol exports fall 18% month on month

11 July 2012 20:05  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US May phenol exports fell by 18% month on month, according to data obtained on Wednesday from the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

US producers cited a tight or closed arbitrage window into the key phenol export market of Asia as a big reason for falling volumes.

US May phenol exports were 43,651 tonnes, down from 53,386 tonnes in April 2012.

As assessed by ICIS, the average US phenol spot price was 4-6 cents/lb ($88-132/tonne, €72-108/tonne) higher than Asian material. Additionally, demand in Asia weakened, sources said.

Operating rates at US phenol plants also started to decline in April and May because of the weaker export market, limiting supply available.

Year on year, US May phenol exports increased 4.3% from 41,866 tonnes in May 2011.

Phenol supply was severely limited in the spring of 2011 because of cumene shortages caused by several plant turnarounds.

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

($1 = €0.82)

By: John Dietrich

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