08 April 2013 11:30 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The European mixed xylenes (MX) market is subdued amid poor downstream conditions and weak signals from Asia, sources said on Monday.
There has been little activity seen in the market so far in April, and several players felt it was still difficult to gauge where the market should be valued following a March which saw little visibility.
Prices in Asia came down throughout March on continued bearishness among end-users, which in turn has weighed down on sentiment in Europe.
While the Asian market saw a rallying of prices in early April to breach the $1,200/tonne (€924/tonne) FOB (free on board) Korea level, this trend was soon reversed amid poor downstream conditions and weak crude futures. The market edged back down to close on Friday, 5 April at $1,162-1,180/tonne as Brent futures fell.
European spot numbers are similarly valued at $1,160-1,200/tonne FOB Rotterdam.
“Distribution [market players] could pay $1,200/tonne or more, but for [paraxylene production] or export it wouldn’t work,” said one European trader.
Nevertheless, another source was sanguine about the market moving forward into the second quarter, arguing that the bottom had been reached in terms of pricing for MX, as well as the wider aromatics complex.
($1 = €0.77)
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