Spot benzene prices cloud direction of US Dec contract

26 November 2012 22:54  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US aromatics trade participants on Monday were divided as to which direction the US December benzene contract would take by the end of the week.

A couple of aromatics trade participants said that they expect the December benzene contract to move slightly down to within a range of $4.75-4.85/gal ($1,422-1,452/tonne, €1,095-1,118/tonne) FOB (free on board).

However, one benzene trader said the direction would depend on spot transactions in the next few days.

Some trade sources said earlier in the month that benzene prices may break seasonal trends and remain high through the rest of the year.

Typically aromatics prices fall during the fourth quarter as producers and some consumers finalise their positions and start de-stocking inventories for end-of-year tax purposes.

However, suppliers pointed out that the tight supply conditions in late October and early November would make it difficult to de-stock inventory.

The November benzene contract was settled at a record high of $4.90/gal FOB.

Benzene contracts typically follow direction of the spot market in the final week of the month.

Current benzene spot prices were discussed at $4.83-4.95/gal FOB, which was on either side of the November benzene contract price of $4.90/gal.

Meanwhile, December benzene traded during the day at $4.90/gal DDP (delivered, duty paid) for first-half December and $4.92/gal FOB.

The November benzene contract was pressured up by tight supply positions in October because of delayed imports from Asia. The tight supply conditions eventually pushed the spot market to an all-time high of $5.35/gal FOB in October.

Spot prices in November were discussed as high as $5.25/gal FOB early in the month before moving back down below the $5.00/gal mark as imports arrived.

($1 = 0.77)

By: Brian Balboa
+1 713 525 2653

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