US September phenol could fall by more than feedstocks

25 September 2012 22:15  [Source: ICIS news]

Phenol may fall more than benzeneHOUSTON (ICIS)--US September phenol contracts could fall by more than what feedstock benzene contracts did for the same month as a result of softer markets, market sources said on Tuesday.

In freely negotiated phenol contracts, prices typically move by a factor equal to the same-month benzene contract.

For September, that would push US phenol prices down by 5.43 cents/lb ($120/tonne, €92/tonne) to 84.89-89.34 cents/lb FRT EQ (freight equalised).

August prices were assessed by ICIS at 90.32-94.77 cents/lb FRT EQ.

However, several buyers said they are pushing to have September phenol contracts fall by 5.5 cents/lb, on market softness.

“I would not be surprised if it settles slightly better than the benzene movement,” a buyer said. “Phenolics and epoxies are starting to soften.”

Another buyer was skeptical, arguing that gaining anything more than the benzene movement is difficult.

Producers are expected to counter that although demand is soft, supply is tight because of low operating rates.

“At this point, you can’t get blood from a stone,” the producer said. “All the pressing has been done.”

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

($1 = €0.77)

By: John Dietrich

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