13 September 2013 22:44 [Source: ICIS news]
NEW YORK (ICIS)--The US orthoxylene (OX) contract price for September was settled earlier this week at 67 cents/lb ($1,477/tonne, €1,108/tonne) free on board (FOB), a 3 cent/lb increase from August, market sources said on Friday.
The September settlement is the second consecutive increase for OX. August OX was also settled up by 3 cents/lb from July.
The level of increase in this month’s price lands above initial expectations of a slight 1 cent/lb raise.
Market participants had shifted their trend expectation upward on the back of a potential military strike in Syria, which left participants on the sidelines as they decided to wait and see what would happen.
Market sources also cited rising crude futures and raw material costs as drivers for OX pricing.
OX comes out of the refining process with mixed xylenes (MX) and is typically affected by its price movement, as well as the movement of toluene and benzene that also come out of the gasoline stream.
US MX spot prices had been on a seven-consecutive week run up, showing a decline this week. Meanwhile, the MX contract price was settled up in both August and September.
Demand in the downstream US phthalic anhydride (PA) market is slightly up going into the autumn season, but not particularly robust. Some market sources are seeing steady demand, while others said they expect to have healthy business during autumn.
US OX spot prices notionally widened in the week as it followed the trend in the Asian OX spot market.
OX is primarily used to make PA, a key intermediate in the production of plasticizers, which are used to make products such as flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Major US OX producers include ExxonMobil Chemical and Flint Hills Resources.
($1 = €0.75)
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