S Korea December ’12 benzene exports fall 14% on weak US demand

08 January 2013 08:45  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--South Korea’s benzene exports in December declined by around 14% month on month to about 125,500 tonnes on reduced appetite from its key US market, industry players said on Tuesday.

Logistics issues also hampered shipments last month because of inclement weather, they said.

Benzene export volumes to the US in December fell by 14% to 52,693 tonnes from November, while shipments to China dropped by 23% month on month to 31,917 tonnes, they said.

“Both Yeosu and Daesan ports were shut a few days in [the] end of December. [The] situation in Daesan was worse than in Yeosu. But now in January, both ports are functioning better,” an aromatics producer said.

The US did not require as much benzene imports from South Korea because of a spate of turnarounds at downstream plants that resulted in an oversupply of the aromatics product, trader said.

“Demand [for benzene] in China was rather weak in December due to the downstream seasonal lull. Besides, the international price is prevailingly higher than the domestic price, weighing on import interest,” a Chinese trader said.

On 8 January, spot benzene prices in east China stood at yuan (CNY) 10,800/tonne ex-tank, which is about $1,430/tonne CFR (cost and freight) at import parity. On a free-on-board (FOB) basis, prices were at $1,450-1,460/tonne, market players said.

($1 = €0.76  / $1 = CNY6.23)

Author: Ong Sheau Ling

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