US September phenol contract higher on benzene values

24 September 2013 22:47  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US phenol contract range for September settled up on Tuesday, in line with the sharply higher September benzene contract.

The new phenol contract settled up by 3.12 cents/lb ($69/tonne, €51/tonne) from August, moving the September range to 81.59-86.04 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS, despite ample supply and broadly weak demand.

The US phenol market continued soft during the week, with phenol operating rates still heard mostly in the range of 65-70%.

Though some sources indicated some recent volatility in operational rates, there was not yet a market consensus on that point.

The September benzene contract previously increased by 23 cents/gal from August, stemming from higher benzene spot prices ahead of planned maintenance outages.

However, current benzene spot prices are slightly below the September contract of $4.40/gal, which may portend a decline in the October benzene contract.

In the US truck acetone market, values continued largely steady from the first half of the month, sources said during the week.

Stable acetone market conditions and the absence of truck price-hike initiatives suggest September prices will roll over from August, though some unconfirmed weakness at the bottom of the posted truck range was heard.

In the large-buyer acetone market, September barge talks were well underway, with downward pressure from weaker refinery-grade propylene (RGP), which was being seen weaker by 2-3 cents/lb from one month ago. So far, only one buy-side settlement had been confirmed at a slight reduction.

US Major US phenol producers include Axiall, Dow Chemical, Haverhill Chemical, Honeywell, INEOS Phenol and Shell Chemical.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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