ICIS has a network of locally based reporters providing coverage of regional Benzene markets. They provide not just pricing information, but an in-depth understanding of the factors driving prices and market fluctuations.
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Benzene US Transcript
Benzene is a major chemical feedstock used to produce a number of other petrochemcials such as ethyl benzene, styrene and solvents such as cumene, phenol and acetone.
Main sources of benzene are from the steam-cracking or catatlytic reforming of liquid petroleum feedstocks, primarily naphtha where benzene is recovered from the aromatics stream.
Now although benzene is mainly sourced from naphtha, crude and gasoline futures on NYMEX have also shown to be much more key driver on the market at times.
Other factors that can influence on the market is the weather, especially in the summer time. Much of the North American benzene production is concentrated in the US Gulf, which is always vulnerable to hurricanes. A couple of examples of this are hurricanes Rita and Katrina in the summer of 2006. That took a lot of US Gulf production off line. We saw this again in the summer of 2008 with Hurricane Ike.
Benzene can also be influenced by strong downstream demand from the styrene sector.
The ICIS US Gulf benzene report is used by some majors as a benchmark in the aromatic petrochemicals sector. This is important because many companies trust ICIS and how we assess the market.
They can pretty much base their business and really put it in our hand because we publish a single contract number and we publish spot prices. Now that can influence their outlook for an entire month or quarter or an entire year. The US Gulf report includes contract prices and weekly spot prices on an free on board (FOB) basis.
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Updated to Q1 2016
US Gulf benzene values plummeted early in 2016 on downward pressure from unsteady upstream crude oil markets, high levels of US benzene imports and a month-long turnaround during February in downstream styrene. Spot prices marked multi-year lows in January, and again in February, while March contract prices settled in late February at their lowest since April 2009.
However, the benzene market recovered in March with much fewer import volumes expected and a closed arbitrage into the US from Asia, an important source for US benzene. The US is structurally short on benzene and it relies on imports for a sizable portion of its consumption. Also supporting prices in March were stronger and more stable upstream crude oil futures and downstream styrene plant restarts following turnarounds.
On the demand side, consumption has been healthy in all benzene derivatives during Q1 2016 aside from the February styrene turnaround. Most benzene in the US is used to make styrene, which has had strong consumption rates in due to a tight domestic market and strong US export demand.
Benzene is a major chemical feedstock used to produce a number of other petrochemicals such as ethyl benzene (EB), styrene and solvents such as cumene, phenol and acetone.
The main sources of benzene are from the steam cracking or catalytic reforming of liquid petroleum feedstocks, primarily naphtha with benzene recovered from the aromatic stream.
Although benzene is mainly sourced from naphtha, crude and gasoline futures on NYMEX futures are also shown to be a key driver in the market at times.
Another factor that can influence the market is weather, especially in the summer. Much of the North American benzene production is concentrated in the US Gulf (USG), which is always vulnerable to hurricanes.
The ICIS US Gulf benzene report is used by some majors as a benchmark in the aromatics and petrochemicals sector. This is important because many companies trust ICIS and how we assess the market.
We publish a single contract number and we publish spot prices. That can affect the entire outlook for a month or quarter, or an entire year. The US Gulf report includes contract and weekly spot prices on a free-on-board (FOB) basis.
ICIS collects pricing data on a wide range of chemical, energy and fertilizer products, including Benzene. Our extensive experience in price reporting means we can offer you access to historical data dating back more than 20 years for certain commodities.
Our time series of pricing data enables you to build and model trends, to get a view of where markets might be heading. The data service includes charting functionality, allowing you to chart and download multiple data series for manipulation in your own internal models. You can also export data to Excel via the ICIS dashboard service.
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