30 January 2014 05:09 [Source: ICIS news]
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SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot toluene prices plunhed to a 13-week low, as a result of bearish sentiment stemming from poor demand fundamentals, market players said on Thursday.
On 30 January mid-day, spot prices were assessed at $1,083-1,085/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea for February and $1,090-1,095/tonne FOB Korea for March cargoes, according to ICIS.
Spot prices have been on a downtrend since early December, shedding a cumulative amount of close to $100/tonne to date, ICIS reported.
Declining downstream paraxylene (PX) numbers, coupled with absence of Chinese buyers amid poor solvent and gasoline blending demand resulted in the bearish sentiment, players said.
Mounting inventories across China and even South Korea worsened the supply-demand fundamentals, players added.
East China stock levels were at 98,500 tonnes as of 24 January, while South China inventories were at 8,500 tonnes, according to ICIS China.
“Not just Chinese inventories are high, stocks are gradually increasing here because of the poor domestic demand [from gasoline blending sector],” a South Korea-based producer said.
Some regional toluene disproportionation (TDP) producers are considering to cut run rates because of the poor-performing PX-PTA chain, which may lead to more toluene spot supply in the future, industry sources said.
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