US aromatics producers mixed on truck and rail markets

15 January 2013 21:45  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--With declining aromatics spot barge prices and stronger gasoline and octane values over the week, US aromatics producers have been mixed as to where pricing direction is, trade sources said on Tuesday.

One supplier was seen is lowering their truck and rail prices for toluene and xylene, while another major supplier came out with a price increase.

Valero is lowering its truck and rail price for toluene and xylene this week, based on the recent weakness in toluene and mixed xylene (MX) spot prices.

Trade sources said Valero dropped its toluene price by about 2 cents/lb for US Gulf toluene, and about a penny on US Gulf xylene.

Despite the drop, other aromatics suppliers in the US Gulf said they were holding off from any price increase.

As a result, US Gulf toluene prices were at 65-68 cents/lb ($1,433-1,499/tonne, €1,075-1,124/tonne) DEL (delivered) on Tuesday, slightly wider compared with 66-68.00 cents/lb DEL a week earlier.

US Gulf xylene prices were at 68-71 cents/lb DEL, also wider from a week earlier at 69-71 cents/lb DEL.

Some trade sources said they were surprised by Valero’s lower prices, considering the volatile nature of the barge spot market, which can influence pricing.

Meanwhile, in a letter to its customers obtained by ICIS, ExxonMobil said effective 1 February; it will increase prices by 5 cents/lb on all grades of Aromatic 100, Aromatic 150, and toluene. The price increase also applies to HAN 906, solvent 606 and all blends containing the listed products.

The company said the price initiatives were in response to recent increases in fuel values, mostly notably motor gasoline and octane.

Trade participants said they did not think ExxonMobil’s price increase would be successful.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Brian Balboa
+1 713 525 2653

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