US May cumene rises marginally on higher feedstock

31 May 2013 21:42  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US cumene contract for May rose slightly on higher feedstock costs, sources confirmed on Friday.

The cumene increase of 1 cent/lb ($22/tonne, €17/tonne) correlated with the increase in the May benzene contract, which rose to $4.47/gal from $4.36/gal in April.

The increase took the May cumene to 61-62 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

The April cumene contract previously fell by 7 cents/lb on the April benzene contract, which had declined for three consecutive months before rebounding in May.

Cumene supply remained long because of continued low demand for downstream phenol, which has, in turn, severely constrained acetone supply.

No production interruptions – either planned or unplanned – were heard during the week, but most sources agree that supply is more than ample to meet current and near-term downstream demand.

Downstream, there are some signs of improvement.

The housing market is improving, some sources noted, along with demand for coatings. However, ongoing storms and bad weather have stymied typically strong seasonal demand.

US pending home sales rose slightly in April from March, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The 0.3% increase indicated that the nation’s housing market continues to improve, if only by razor-thin margins. Nonetheless, pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 24 months.

Major US cumene producers include Citgo, Flint Hills Resources, Georgia Gulf, Marathon, Philadelphia Energy Solutions and Shell Chemical.

($1 = €0.77)


By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653



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