16 October 2012 20:06 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--An unexpected surge in feedstock costs appears set to push US October cumene prices higher, sources said on Tuesday.
US October cumene prices are expected to settle at 56-58 cents/lb ($1,235-1,279/tonne, €951-985/tonne) FOB (free on board), up by 3-4 cents/lb from September’s levels.
The gain is being attributed to a surprising increase in feedstock benzene and refinery-grade propylene (RGP) prices.
US October benzene contracts jumped by 20 cents/gal despite soft demand in the downstream cumene and styrenics markets.
A source said that the persistently high benzene prices are continuing to hurt cumene margins and is keeping operating rates down.
Meanwhile, spot RGP has gained 6-7 cents/lb since September cumene was settled, putting further pressure on the product.
Major US cumene producers include CITGO, Flint Hills Resources, Georgia Gulf, Marathon and Shell Chemical.
($1 = €0.77)
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