Europe July phenol contract follows upstream benzene down €67/tonne

05 July 2013 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The European July phenol contract price has fallen by €67/tonne ($87/tonne) following the reduction in the value of major feedstock benzene, sources confirmed on Friday.

The contract settled on a pre-discounted basis at €1,542-1,582/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

The upstream July benzene contract price settled at €978/tonne.

While the reduction was a welcome relief for phenol producers and consumers, most said that it would do little to boost demand.

In relation to the settlement, one buyer said: “Down is better than up, but it’s going to take a lot more than €67/tonne to turn this market around. It’s terrible, there is just no demand and I think it’s going to get worse.”

A second buyer said: “There not much change in demand and now we are facing the summer holidays. Nobody is expecting demand to come back.

“Everybody in [downstream bisphenol A] is hoping for something to happen. The market [situation] is not substantial or tangible.”

Phenol sellers confirmed that business is still difficult and said the July benzene settlement would make little difference, although a couple of producers said they had seen a slight improvement for July.

“I am not seeing much change. BPA is a little bit better, but nothing much.  Everything else is pretty much the same on phenol,” one major producer said.

A second major producer added: “The benzene decrease is more than we thought. It has had a slight impact on demand.

“People are preparing for the August holidays, and I think they thought benzene dropped more than expected, so let’s buy a little more in July.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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