US November phenol exports fall 29% year on year on high benzene

14 January 2013 19:47  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)—US November exports of phenol fell by 29% year on year, according to data made available on Monday from the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

Most of the fall was attributed to high upstream benzene values, which set a record high in the November contract, making US phenol uneconomical compared with other regions.

November phenol exports totaled 32,096 tonnes, down from 45,366 tonnes a year ago.

Month on month, exports fell by 36% from 49,796 tonnes in October.

The record-high US November benzene contract pushed US spot prices of phenol to 62-66 cents/lb ($1,367-1,455/tonne, €1,025-1,091/tonne) on an FOB (free on board) basis, as assessed by ICIS.

This meant phenol was trading between 0-4 cents/lb below benzene prices, pushing US producers to keep operating rates lower and keeping traders out of the market.

Major US phenol producers include Dow Chemical, Georgia Gulf, Haverhill Chemical, Honeywell, INEOS Phenol, SABIC Innovative Plastics and Shell Chemical.

($1 = €0.75)

By: John Dietrich

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