05 April 2013 11:54 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The European toluene market remains subdued so far in April, sources said on Friday, with poor buying interest outside of contractual volumes keeping activity muted.
The European market had been quiet over the course of March, although balanced supply levels had helped domestic prices resist the sharp slump seen in Asia.
However, price ideas for spot material did come down by the end of the month, with offers late last week at $1,175/tonne (€905/tonne) on a cost, insurance and freight (CIF) basis.
Offers moved as low as $1,150/tonne CIF this week, but there was still no corresponding bids emerging from the market.
“With the arb [arbitrage window] closed it will be hard to find a buyer,” one major consumer noted. “The domestic spot market remains dead.”
However, one trader felt that the bottom of the market had been reached for toluene and the aromatics complex in general, and expected pricing to pick up as the second quarter unfolded.
Some initial toluene contracts for April have been agreed at $1,175/tonne FOB (free on board) NWE (northwest Europe), buyers and sellers confirmed this week, down $90-100/tonne from the previous month’s range.
One consumer initially reported that it had settled one contract with a supplier at $1,175/tonne. A producer later confirmed it had agreed April volumes with its customers at this level.
Further confirmation from other players is pending.
($1 = €0.77)
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