Asia toluene prices hit eight-and-a-half-month low on high stocks

19 March 2013 10:56  [Source: ICIS news]

SHANGHAI (ICIS)--Spot toluene prices in Asia hit an eight-and-a-half month low on Tuesday, weighed down by the mounting inventories in the key China market, market players said.

On Tuesday’s close, spot toluene prices were assessed by ICIS at $1,100-1,105/tonne (€847-851/tonne)  FOB (free on board) Korea for April loading and $1,110-1,120/tonne FOB Korea for May cargoes.

A May cargo was sold at $1,115/tonne FOB Korea on Tuesday afternoon, while three June lots were booked at $1,120-1,125/tonne FOB Korea.

Prices fell by $120/tonne or 10% from 6 March to hit Tuesday’s low level, according to ICIS data.

Market participants estimated that inventories at east China will reach 100,000 tonnes or even more by end of the week or the coming week, as a result of the recent large import arrivals in these two weeks amid tepid downstream demand.

About 18,000 tonnes of deep-sea cargoes arrived in the previous week to reach an inventory of 80,800 tonnes in east China on 15 March – a level much higher to the pre-Lunar New Year holiday level of around 20,000 tonnes, market players said.

During the week ending 22 March, another 10,000-15,000 tonnes of deep-sea parcels and more than 15,000 tonnes of South Korean cargoes will arrive in China, increasing the already high stock levels, they added.

“Importers’ positions are largely long here,” a Chinese trader said.

“We are expecting prices to breach the $1,100/tonne [FOB Korea] mark any time this week,” a second Chinese trader said.

($1 = €0.77)

Author: Ong Sheau Ling

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