30 May 2013 23:42 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US May phenol contract values increased in line with the May benzene contract, sources confirmed on Thursday.
May phenol contracts gained 1.49 cents/lb ($33/tonne, €25/tonne), taking values to a new range of 85.55-90.00 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS.
The phenol gain was in line with the 11 cent/gal increase in the benzene contract, moving it to $4.47/gal for May from $4.36/gal in April.
Domestic adders in the low double digits were heard, while spot values were heard at benzene plus 2-3 cents/lb.
However, neither phenol nor co-product acetone is very available for export, sources said, because phenol production rates hovering around 70% continue to keep supply tight.
Further, phenol buying interest has been diminished by factors such as weaker demand from export markets in Asia and India and soft US housing markets.
Spring coatings demand is typically stronger by this time of year, but has been slow to gain momentum because of storms and otherwise persistently inclement weather in the northeast US and other regions.
Storm damage eventually will spur heightened interest in coatings and construction-related products, sources said, but demand remains largely pent up for now, sources said.
Major US phenol producers include Axiall, Dow Chemical, Haverhill Chemical, Honeywell, INEOS Phenol and Shell Chemical.
($1 = €0.77)
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