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US February cumene contracts move just below record high

ICIS News : 22-Feb-13 21:31

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US February cumene contracts were assessed higher on Friday, narrowly missing a record-high mark.

Sources said cumene prices gained 1.5 cents/lb ($33/tonne, 25/tonne) in February from January, putting the average price at 74.5 cents/lb on an FOB (free on board) basis.

January contracts were assessed at an average of 73 cents/lb FOB. The record high as assessed by ICIS was 75 cents/lb FOB, set in May 2011.

That mark was mostly fuelled by record-high feedstock costs for refinery-grade propylene (RGP), as well as severe cumene tightness owing to several plant outages.

Sources said cumene supply in the US continues to tighten because of strong RGP prices and especially high feedstock benzene prices.

Additionally, downstream demand from the key phenol-acetone market is soft, owing to limited activity in spot trading and steady domestic sales.

Major US cumene producers include CITGO, Flint Hills Resources, Georgia Gulf, Marathon, Philadelphia Energy Solutions and Shell Chemical.

($1 = 0.76)

By John Dietrich

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