Asia benzene slumps to two-week low on falling US, Europe prices

02 May 2013 06:29  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot benzene prices in Asia plunged to a two-week low on Thursday morning, dragged down by weakness seen in the US and European markets over the past three trading days, market players said.

At midday, spot prices in Asia were assessed as $1,283-1,287/tonne (€975-978/tonne) FOB (free on board) Korea for May and June parcels, down $19-23/tonne from the previous day, according to ICIS data.

Prior to Thursday’s plunge, benzene prices in Asia were relatively stable this week.

In the US market – Asia’s key benzene outlet – prices lost a cumulative $0.20-0.24/gal or $57-71/tonne over three trading days to $4.20-4.33/kg FOB (free on board) for prompt cargoes on Wednesday.

European spot prices, on the other hand, declined $45-50/tonne  over the same period to $1,330-1,345/tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp), according to ICIS.

“Asia is reacting to the other regions’ price fall. Crude [fell] as well. Prices [of benzene] have to come down in Asia,” a Singapore-based trader said.

Benzene was thinly traded in Asia in first half of the trading week because of several regional holidays.

“Sentiment has been pretty weak prior to the holidays because of the supply overhang for prompt cargoes. But, prices were able to hold at $1,300/tonne [FOB Korea] levels,” a Chinese trader said.

Thursday’s price fall was in direct response to more than $50/tonne price loss in other markets, the trader said.

($1 = €0.76)

Author: Ong Sheau Ling

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