31 January 2013 16:41 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--An initial February European benzene contract was agreed at €1,040/tonne, down €113/tonne from the previous month, one seller and one buyer said on Thursday.
Following the record high settlement of January in dollar terms, some downward correction was expected for February. Spot values have gradually eased over the course of the month, as prices in the US have slipped on improved availability and softer Asian pricing.
Despite the sizeable drop for February, there is still a relatively bullish outlook on benzene due to ongoing feedstock restrictions, a dynamic that looks set to continue into 2013.
Sources said that January was a strange month, with price volatility being driven by various competing factors. Upcoming shutdowns on key derivative markets like styrene and phenol are likely to slow benzene consumption down in Europe, which may help improve availability.
The February contract was agreed on a US dollar concept of $1,408/tonne FOB (free on board) NWE (northwest Europe) and converted to the euro price at the agreed exchange rate of €1:$1.3538.
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