03 September 2013 15:24 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The European benzene contract for September has been confirmed at €977/tonne, up €31/tonne from last month, as the initial settlement received further support from players this week.
The contract was agreed at a US dollar concept of $1,296/tonne FOB (free on board) NWE (northwest Europe) and converted to the euro price at the agreed exchange rate of €1:$1.3265.
A slight increase had been predicted as August drew to a close, with spot levels within the $1,290-1,300/tonne range. Sentiment for September and the rest of 2013 is increasingly bullish, with several planned cracker turnarounds likely to keep feedstock availability limited.
Strong European styrene sentiment and strengthening global values for benzene for the upcoming month are also keeping domestic price ideas firm, as spot numbers gradually edged over $1,300/tonne this week.
With the US now driving the global market direction, this means that material is likely to flow into the region as opposed to Europe. Current US spot numbers are around the $1,320/tonne level, with turnarounds in September and October poised to keep availability limited and prices bullish.
Asian benzene prices are also moving up this week, supported by strong downstream styrene numbers this month, buoyant crude futures and improved buyer sentiment in the key Chinese market.
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