01 February 2013 09:56 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The European February benzene contract was agreed at €1,040/tonne, down €113/tonne from the previous month, as the initial settlement received further support from players on Friday.
The initial number was heard from one seller on Thursday 31 January and was later confirmed by numerous other parties.
“I have agreed €1,040/tonne with all of my suppliers except one,” said one buyer.
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.
February spot deals were done this week between $1,395-1,410/tonne, with values coming off as the week progressed in line with the softer US numbers.
Despite the sizable 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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