Asia toluene falls to four-month low on bearish sentiment

28 February 2013 11:01  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s toluene prices fell to a four-month low on Thursday, dragged down by weakness in the key China market, with some sellers actively seeking buyers for March cargoes, market sources said.

At the close of trade, spot toluene prices were assessed at $1,230-1,240/tonne (€935-942/tonne) FOB (free on board) Korea for March loading; $1,240-1,250/tonne FOB Korea for April parcels; and $1,240-1,255/tonne FOB Korea for May cargoes, according to ICIS.

Spot prices declined for the third consecutive day on Thursday, with cumulative losses at $55/tonne or 4.3%, ICIS reported.

Asian prices have been on a general downtrend since 12 December 2012, when a record high of $1,400/tonne FOB Korea was hit, according to ICIS data.

The steep price fall in the last three trading sessions was mainly influenced by China’s domestic market, in which prices in Jiangsu fell by yuan (CNY) 412.50/tonne or 4.3% over the same period to CNY9,150-9,200/tonne ex-tank, according to Chemease, an ICIS service in China.

“Perhaps the bottom price now [for toluene] may be $1,200/tonne [FOB Korea],” a South Korean traders said.

Concerns about further troubles in the debt-laden eurozone following a political deadlock in Italy’s elections kept players in the Chinese toluene market wary.

“It is very confusing now [with] prices crashing, but supply is supposed to tighten soon,” a Singapore-based trader said.

Spot supply in Asia is likely to tighten ahead of the expected turnnarounds at regional aromatics plants in March to May.

($1 = €0.76)

Author: Ong Sheau Ling

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