18 October 2012 20:30 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US benzene spot prices have been moving up during the week because of continued tightness in supply availability, trade sources said on Thursday.
October benzene spot levels were bid at $5.00/gal ($1,497/tonne, €1,137/tonne) DDP (duty, delivered paid) on Thursday morning, following an October trade at $4.95/gal DDP late on Wednesday.
Offer levels were not disclosed for October or November prices in the morning.
The tight supply was attributed to a delay in import shipments from Asia, which is also facing tight supply and limited cargo space, and low production rates.
US benzene spot prices have not reached the $5.00/gal mark since mid-July of this year. That mid-July jump to $5.00/gal was brought on mostly by short supply positions held by traders.
The strong benzene prices have pushed up the benzene market in Europe as well.
US benzene spot prices are above spot levels in Europe and in Asia, which has allowed for some arbitrage opportunities.
October benzene spot prices in Europe are at $1,350-1,370/tonne.
Asian benzene spot prices are at $1,275-1,295/tonne.
Trade sources in Europe expect tightness in the US to continue into November, forecasting prices to remain high in Europe as a result.
However, US trade sources have said they expect prices to move lower in November once imports from Asia arrive.
US November benzene was bid at $4.75/gal FOB (free on board) early in the day, 25 cents/gal below the October benzene bid.
Some 30,000 tonnes of European benzene has also been heard fixed for the US.
Brazil's Petrobras said in early October that it expected to offer some benzene to the US market, which would help alleviate the tight market.
($1 = €0.76)
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