US October phenol expected to settle higher with benzene

29 October 2012 20:45  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Phenol producers will likely stick to US October increases of 2.71 cents/lb ($60/tonne, €46/tonne), which would match the change in feedstock benzene’s October contract settlement, buyers said on Monday.

US September phenol contracts were assessed by ICIS at 84.89-89.34 cents/lb FRT EQ (freight equalised).

“Producers are sticking to the benzene change,” a buyer said. “And the scary part is that benzene is out of control again.”

The US October benzene contract gained 20 cents/gal and settled at $4.40/gal FOB (free on board).

However, trades in late October have been done above $5.00/gal, which will likely spur the November contract even higher.

“Some of our domestic customers are going to say they can’t pass it down,” a producer said. “Benzene is killing the market.”

In the downstream epoxy resins market, buyers said they will turn to less expensive imports or simply hold off on buying material made with the expensive benzene.

The downstream polycarbonate (PC) market has been spared much of the price pain because demand has been robust, especially from the automotive market.

Major US phenol producers include Dow Chemical, Georgia Gulf, Haverhill Chemical, Honeywell, INEOS Phenol, SABIC Innovative Plastics and Shell Chemical.

($1 = €0.77)

By: John Dietrich

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