Back from less-than-sunny Perth to discover that the prediction from my good friend and colleague Paul Hodges at International eChem has come true: Benzene has headed south because of:
1.) The rise in its pricing seems to have been out-of-kilter with what has happening downstream in styrene
2.) Traders credit might well have stampeded for the exit after building very high stocks in China in July
3.) Overall reformer economics appear to have been much-improved of late, perhaps encouraging over-production of benzene
See this slide from ICIS pricing which illustrates the point.
The conclusion has to be, again, that apparent chemicals demand is a long way from underlying demand, despite all the macro-economic confidence.
Expect many more mini disruptions like this – if not the dreaded overall collapse.