US April phenol contract range falls on weaker benzene

29 April 2013 23:30  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US April phenol contracts fell in line with April benzene contracts, sources confirmed on Monday.

April phenol contracts shed 4.48 cents/lb ($99/tonne, €76/tonne) from March, taking values to a new range of 84.06-88.51 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

The phenol decline was in line with the April benzene contract drop of 33 cents/gal.

Sources continued to say that the phenol market, diminished by weak downstream-market demand that has driven down production rates, may not see improvement until 2014.

Spot export phenol prices were still being heard within the range of 62-64 cents/lb, though values are expected to rise in May.

Phenol co-product acetone was said to be more balanced with current demand, but phenol production rates remain low, continuing to impinge on acetone production.

In its monthly index of chemical industry activity, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) showed an 0.2% gain this month from the March measure – negligible by some standards but the ninth consecutive monthly improvement.

In other economic news, single-family housing starts will reach 672,000 units by the end of this year and then climb to nearly 860,000 new one-family build-outs in 2014 as the housing sector continues to recover, a US home builders organisation said during the week.

In its semi-annual housing sector forecast, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said that by the end of next year, construction of new single-family homes should reach 858,000 for the full year, or about 71% of what was considered “normal” new home construction of 1.3m units annually before the housing market crash in 2006.

Major US phenol producers include Axial, Dow Chemical, Haverhill Chemical, Honeywell, INEOS Phenol and Shell Chemical.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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