08 January 2013 12:12 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The European benzene spot market has softened in January, with demand so far failing to ignite after the Christmas holiday period, sources said on Tuesday.
While January traded as high as $1,525/tonne (€1,159/tonne) CIF (cost, insurance, freight) ARA (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp) last week, the market gradually moved down since then, with a January deal done on Monday 7 January at $1,470/tonne and the bid/offer range lower this morning at $1,430-1,445/tonne CIF ARA.
“It’s a strange market,” said one trader, who nonetheless believes that European fundamentals remain unchanged since mid-2012. “Pygas [pyrolisis gasoline] is still tight, and I expect more big drops and big price rallies this year.”
The key issue appears to be that consumers are unclear on end-user demand, which has led to the price volatility seen throughout 2012. Even with downstream activity muted in Europe, however, tight feedstock availability and strong global numbers have supported domestic prices.
Asian benzene edged down slightly on Tuesday, as a sharp drop in styrene pricing weighed down on the benzene market, and offers for March fell as low as $1,427/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea. Lower prices so far in 2013 has also led to some European price erosion.
($1 = €0.76)
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