18 October 2012 07:00 [Source: ICIS news]
By Jasmine Khoo
Regional producers currently have limited cargoes for November and December shipments, but gains in prices may be capped by weak demand, they said.
At noon, benzene prices were trading at $1,270-1,290/tonne (€965-980/tonne) FOB (free on board)
Buyers with urgent need and those seeking to cover short positions are placing higher bids, market sources said.
Two deals for November-loading cargoes were fixed at $1,290/tonne FOB
“The supply situation in [South]
SK Energy is currently conducting scheduled turnaround at its reformers in
“Most makers in
Chinese buyers are seeking benzene imports as domestic supply is scarce given ongoing turnarounds and unplanned shutdowns at local facilities.
Benzene inventory in eastern
Demand for prompt lots is strong but most producers are not in the position to fulfil all buying enquiries.
“It is a good chance to make profits, but unfortunately, we don’t have the cargoes to sell on spot basis,” said a northeast Asia-based producer.
Downstream, supply of styrene monomer (SM) is also tight, leading to spikes in prices.
SM, which is the largest end-user of benzene, is expected to remain on an uptrend although demand from downstream styrenics sector remained tepid.
“The current margins for benzene and SM are not favourable, and the actual downstream demand is weak,” said a northeast Asia-based SM producer.
“Logically, it makes more sense to adjust production rates than to purchase benzene now and risk making losses eventually,” the producer said.
($1 = €0.76)
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