Market unsurprised at fall in US Q3 cumene production

01 November 2012 20:28  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US cumene production in the third quarter fell by 19% year on year, which market sources said on Thursday is not surprising.

At 721,894 tonnes, production was down from 890,117 tonnes a year ago, according to data released by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).

Production also fell by 12% quarter on quarter, from 819,758 tonnes.

Market sources attributed the fall to surging feedstock costs for benzene and weak demand from the downstream phenol-acetone market.

“We’re at a point now where operating rates are low,” a cumene producer said. “Some customers are becoming less regular and starting to focus on inventory control.”

Year to date, cumene production was down by 0.7% year on year, to 2.46m tonnes from 2.48m tonnes.

The US October cumene contract settled at 56-58 cents/lb ($1,235-1,279/tonne, €951-985/tonne) on an FOB (free on board) basis, as assessed by ICIS.

Blue Island Phenol, CITGO, Dow Chemical, Flint Hills Resources, Georgia Gulf, INEOS Phenol, Marathon and Shell Chemical contributed to the AFPM data.

($1 = €0.77)


By: John Dietrich
713-525-2600



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