China’s benzene import window stays closed for spot trades

06 June 2013 08:15  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Chinese benzene importers are remaining on the sidelines, unwilling to discuss spot cargoes, given the more competitively priced domestic cargoes compared with imports, market players said on Thursday.

“The window for spot is still closed, not doable at all,” an importer based in east China said.

On 6 June midday, offers  in the east China domestic market were at yuan (CNY) 8,950-9,000/tonne ($1,460-1,468/tonne) ex-tank, which is equivalent to an import parity of $1,223/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China, according to ICIS China.

“Prices [in the China domestic market] is more than $50/tonne lower than the FOB [free on board] Korea prices,” another importer based in east China said.

Prices were assessed for spot benzene cargoes at $1,284-1,286/tonne FOB Korea for June and July loading, $1,275-1,278/tonne FOB Korea for first-half August lifting and $1,277-1,283/tonne FOB Korea for any August loading, ICIS data showed.

“Our selling ideas for July cargoes are at a premium of about $20/tonne above FOB Korea, and slightly lower to a premium of $15/tonne above FOB Korea for August cargoes, but now, we can’t even talk about premiums. [The] market is way too low in China,” an active exporter into China said.

Selling ideas for July shipments into China were quoted at $1,305-1,310/tonne CFR China, traders said.

The persistently low prices in China comes after local major Sinopec reduced its list prices on three occasions in May by a total of CNY600/tonne to CNY8,900/tonne ex-tank in end-May, market players said.

“The high stock levels in China prompted Sinopec to keep cutting the list prices,” a fourth trader based in east China said.

($1 = CNY6.13)

Emma Shen contributed to the story.

Author: Ong Sheau Ling

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