US aromatics distributors adjust price hikes on strong spot market

30 August 2013 22:53  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The run-up in toluene and mixed xylene (MX) barge spot prices this week has led US Gulf distributors to amend recent truck and rail price announcements with another higher price hike, market participants said on Friday.

One distributor had announced a price increase of 1 cents/lb ($22/tonne, €17/tonne) on toluene and 2 cents/lb on xylene last week, which was to be effective 1 September. This week, though, the distributor amended the price increase to 2 cents/lb on toluene and 4 cents/lb on xylene.

A second Gulf Coast distributor had already announced a price increase of 1 cent/lb on toluene and 2 cents/lb on xylene but said it was now looking at a 3 cent/lb price increase on toluene and a 4 cent/lb price increase on xylene.

Current Gulf coast toluene spot prices are at 56-58 cents/lb FOB (free on board) and 58-60 cents/lb DEL (delivered), according to ICIS.

Gulf Coast xylene spot prices are at 59.00-59.50 cents/lb FOB and 61.00-61.50 cents/lb DEL.

The higher adjusted price announcements followed the recent run up the aromatics spot market ahead of production turnarounds set for September and October. Geopolitical concerns of a potential military strike against Syria by Western powers, helped to push NYMEX WTI and Brent crude higher over the week and lent support higher toluene and MX spot prices this week as well.

The surge in demand also comes as before the Labor Day holiday on 2 September, bringing an end to the US summer driving season.

Activity and demand for toluene and MX had been lacklustre during the summer and following weak price direction from the upstream gasoline sector

After establishing yearly lows in late June and early July, toluene and MX prices have been gradually moving back up.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Brian Balboa
+1 713 525 2653

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