US June cumene rises 1.5 cents/lb as higher RGP offsets benzene

25 June 2013 22:45  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US June cumene contracts rose as higher refinery-grade propylene (RGP) counterbalanced downward pressure from lower June benzene, sources confirmed on Tuesday.

The 1.50 cent/lb ($33/tonne, €25/tonne) increase from May took cumene to a June range of 62.50-63.50 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

The cumene contract typically tracks monthly benzene contract movement, which settled for June at $4.42/gal, a reduction of 5 cents/gal from May on ample supply and recent weakness in the spot market.

However, rising RGP values took cumene in the opposite direction of benzene – rare but not unheard of, sources said.

Earlier this month, US spot prices for refinery-grade propylene (RGP) reached a three-month high on tight supply and rebounding demand.

Cumene supplies has remained long on diminishing demand for derivative phenol both here and especially in Asia.

Downstream, there are mostly encouraging signs from market drivers such as auto sales and housing, but recovery continues to be uneven. The US Commerce Department said home-construction rates could slow because of tighter credit terms and higher labour and material costs.

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

($1 = €0.76)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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