23 August 2013 09:26 [Source: ICB]
Increasing bullish for end 2013, with cracker shutdowns planned potentially leading to feedstock supply disruption
European benzene spot numbers have gained ground this week amid a growing sense of tightness and firming prices in the US and Asia, sources said in the week ending 18 August.
A handful of emerging production problems in the US helped support spot market gains, which in turn drove European numbers upward as the week progressed.
There are currently two Korean turnarounds scheduled for the month of October, which is adding to the growing global bullishness.
After opening that week around the $1,250/tonne (€938/tonne) level, August spot deals were later done at $1,275/tonne and $1,280/tonne CIF (cost, insurance & freight) ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) as the market rallied on some renewed buying interest.
September held a slight contango still, with a deal done early in the week at $1,270/tonne before offers moved as high as $1,290/tonne.
By Wednesday 14 August, spot values for August were at $1,270-1,285/tonne while September remained slightly firmer at $1,280-1,290/tonne. A flurry of September deals were done midweek at $1,285/tonne, $1,290/tonne, $1,295/tonne and later at $1,300/tonne and $1,310/tonne.
The European benzene market saw some downward movement on spot pricing earlier in the month, but has since started to show signs of recovery as the US market picks up.
Ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty amid oil and energy losses kept sentiment bearish to a degree, although some gains on naphtha helped reverse some of the earlier losses.
Some gains on crude oil futures have also helped support the current upward momentum on spot benzene, with Brent pushing up over $110/bbl before losing steam.
By the end of the week ending 18 August, August benzene had traded as high as $1,300/tonne as well, although a subsequent dip in crude oil futures helped ease some of the upward momentum.
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