US truck toluene hikes remain as spot benzene falls from highs

25 October 2012 22:08  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A couple of US aromatics distributors still have toluene truck and rail price increases on the table this week, even as benzene spot barge prices come down, trade sources said on Thursday.

US aromatics distributors are divided as to what impact the recent record highs in the benzene market may have on the toluene and xylene truck and rail sectors, trade sources said on Thursday.

The truck and rail market for toluene and xylene was mostly stable this week with tight supply.

But a couple of distributors have issued toluene price increases during the month.

Conchemco has said it was looking to increase toluene prices in the US Gulf (USG) by 4.00 cents/lb ($88/tonne, €68/tonne), citing the strong toluene barge spot prices in late September and early October and support from the record high benzene prices.

Another producer in the midwest will reportedly increase toluene prices by 2 cents/lb, effective on 21 October, sources said.

Current truck and rail toluene prices were at 62-64 cents/lb DEL (delivered) in the USG and 63-65 cents/lb in the midwest.

One USG distributor noted that if toluene barge spot prices remain high, it may look at increasing prices again.

However, another major US Gulf distributor has declined to increase toluene prices and said it was not sure if a price increase was sustainable with the drop in gasoline values.

There have been no proposed increases for xylene during the month.

USG xylene prices are at 63-65 cents/lb, while midwest xylene prices at 67-69 cents/lb.

Distributors have also said truck and rail toluene and xylene prices would largely depend on direction from the barge spot market. The toluene barge market has moved slightly higher from earlier in the month, while mixed xylene (MX) spot prices have declined.

Current n-grade toluene barge prices are at $4.20-4.40/gal FOB (free on board), up from $4.15-4.30/gal FOB on 1 October.

Mixed xylene (MX) spot barge prices are at $4.00-4.35/gal FOB, down from $4.30-4.45/gal FOB on 1 October.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Brian Balboa
+1 713 525 2653

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