Europe benzene January contract price increase expected

28 December 2012 12:44  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The European January benzene contract price is expected to settle on Monday 31 December and, based on current spot activity, an increase is anticipated, sources said on Friday.

“My guess is somewhere around $1,520,” one trader said regarding the contract price settlement.

Although the spot market is described as “quiet” and “thinly traded” on Friday, trades have taken place this week, with deals done in a $1,530-1,535/tonne CIF (cost insurance freight) ARA (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp) price range.

The December benzene contract settled at $1,408/tonne FOB (free on board) NWE (northwest Europe) in a week when December spot benzene traded at $1,430/tonne. The contract price was slightly lower than spot values since the market was expecting a quiet December.

However, restocking and various planned outages are expected to keep the market tight moving into January.

Cracker operators are also predicted to continue to favour lighter feeds resulting in limited pyrolysis gasoline (pygas) supply moving into next year.

In January 2012, the benzene contract price settled at $1,108-1,115/tonne

An increase in excess of $213-220/tonne at the start of 2012 was very difficult for downstream markets to absorb, particularly for phenol related derivatives, such as, bisphenol (BPA) and the nylon intermediates caprolactam and adipic acid.

Major benzene derivative styrene also experienced a large increase in January this year on the back of the sharp feedstock price hike.

January spot styrene is currently valued at $1,700-1,725/tonne FOB Rotterdam.

($1 = €0.75)


By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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