US styrene producers may sell benzene to cash in on high prices

22 October 2012 22:33  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Some styrene producers may look to sell benzene to capitalise on recent record high benzene prices, in the midst of poor demand for styrene, US aromatics trade participants said on Monday.

The US benzene spot prices achieved record highs on Friday because of continued tightness in supply. October bid/offers on Friday were at $5.10-5.80/gal ($1,526-1,736/tonne, €1,175-1,337/tonne), before trading at $5.35/gal FOB (free on board) for October.

The tight supply had also been attributed to a delay in import shipments from Asia, which was also facing tight supply, limited cargo space and low production rates.

Current benzene spot prices were discussed at $5.10-5.45/gal DDP (duty, delivered paid) and FOB.

The only styrene producers that will sell benzene are the ones that are dependent on exports,” said one styrene supplier. 

The styrene supplier added that the polystyrene (PS) producers have too much at stake with their customers than to consider selling benzene. 

Another styrene producer has already acknowledged the possibility of selling its feedstock benzene.

Seasonal demand in September and October is typically strong from Asia ahead of the winter holiday retail shopping season.

However, demand outside of the Americas has been mostly limited to Europe with no exports heard moving to Asia.

Current styrene spot prices in the US were at 69-71 cents/lb (1,521-1,565/tonne, €1,171-1,205/tonne) FOB, no change from Friday. But trade sources said they expect spot prices to move higher this week because of the higher benzene feedstock costs.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Brian Balboa
+1 713 525 2653

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