Xylenes-Mixed xylenes Prices, markets & analysis
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Xylenes -mixed xylenes Overview Transcript
The mixed xylenes or MX stream is an important raw chemical that can be broadly divided into two grades, the isomer grade and the solvent grade.
Isomer grade is generally used for the production of paraxylene and orthoxylene, while the solvent grade is used in the solvent and coating application sectors. .
The Asian isomer grade MX market typically sees around 40,000 tonnes of deep sea material being shipped from the US per month as the region is net short. However, with fresh capacity emerging in the key Chinese market, trade flows could fundamentally be altered. .
A large proportion of isomer grade MX trade is contract based, with the spot-trade arena dominated by major Korean players. Pricing for both isomer grade and solvent grades mixed xylenes are heavily influenced by movements in crude futures as well as sentiment in the downstream markets..
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Xylenes-Mixed xylenes: Market overview
In Asia, isomer-grade xylene spot prices are expected to weaken in the near quarter as weak downstream conditions in the paraxylene (PX) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) sectors will put downward pressure on buying interest and consequently prices. In addition, several regional end-users have lowered operating rates at their facilities as relatively high feedstock costs amid declining PX spot prices and weaker demand for PX resulted in negative margins. The production cuts by end-users meant that feedstock consumption is lowered, hence reducing demand for spot feedstock isomer-grade xylene. Supply and demand fundamentals for the first quarter of the year is heard to be slightly long. This is evidenced by two major PX producers, South Koreas’ Hyundai Cosmo Petrochemical and Lotte Chemical, selling their surplus feedstock isomer-grade xylene in the open trading arena.
Some emerging upstream production issues will likely see European mixed xylenes (MX) suppliers look to increase their prices as the first quarter of 2014 unfolds, but this will be counteracted by limited downstream buying interest from PX or orthoxylene (OX) amid uncertain derivative activity. While there are ongoing questions surrounding Total’s Gonfreville site following strike action in December 2013, and no clear restart date for the Antwerp refinery following the fatal explosion in mid-November last year, players said that the impact on MX has been minimal so far, with ample material being offered from eastern Europe and the ARA region.
Updated to mid-Jan 2014
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About Xylenes-Mixed xylenes
The major use for xylenes is in the production of paraxylene (PX) and orthoxylene (OX). They are also used as a solvent in the paints industry and for other solvent uses.
Mixed xylenes (MX) are produced by high-severity catalytic reforming of naphtha from which the C8 stream contains OX, metaxylene and PX, as well as ethylbenzene (EB).
Xylenes are also obtained from the pyrolysis gas (pygas) stream in a naphtha steam cracker and by toluene disproportionation (TDP) and transalkylation.
Mixed xylenes occur as a colourless, flammable liquid or crystals, with a characteristic odour. They are insoluble in water and miscible with most organic solvents.
Mixed xylenes are a clear, sweet and flammable aromatic liquid or vapour. They are harmful or fatal if swallowed or inhaled, causing respiratory tract irritation, eye and skin irritation or an allergic skin reaction.