US benzene prices decline, while European markets stay bullish

17 April 2013 21:37  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US benzene spot prices have been on the downtrend this week, following the drop in NYMEX energy futures, according to trade sources on Wednesday.  

The downtrend in the US comes as market sentiment in Europe remains bullish, while energy futures drop. Although the US market was moving lower, trade sources have said demand remains healthy and supply was still readily available.  

Current US benzene spot prices were at $4.36-4.43/gal ($1,305-1,326/tonne, €992-1,008/tonne) FOB (free on board) for April delivery, down from $4.40-4.48/gal FOB on 12 April.

In the NYMEX, light sweet crude (WTI) settled at $86.68/bbl on the day, down $2.04/bbl from the previous session extended the recent length liquidation which was tracking a sell-off in equities and commodities as investors responded to economic growth worries.

Meanwhile, Brent oil futures fell below $100/bbl earlier this week, as concerns surrounding macroeconomic growth and oil demand weighed down on the market. The bearishness continued this morning, as disappointing economic data from China and the US saw energy numbers edge down further.

Current European benzene spot prices were at $1,320-1,335/tonne ($4.41-4.46/gal) CIF (cost, insurance, freight). The range was up from $1,310-1,320/tonne CIF on 12 April.

Several players believe the current bullishness in Europe has been driven by trader speculation and cracker turnarounds, as derivative demand from key markets such as styrene remains soft.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Brian Balboa
+1 713 525 2653

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