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, the outlook for isomer-grade xylene remains bearish into the first quarter (Q1) as weakness in the overall polyester chain, coupled with sharp drops in the upstream crude and naphtha sectors, puts downwards pressure on discussions. Demand is expected to remain sluggish as several downstream paraxylene (PX) makers are planning to continue running their plants at reduced run rates.
The short-term future of the US mixed xylene (MX) markets hinges on the price of crude oil. Energy futures have been plunging for several months, with NYMEX West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropping more than 50% in price since highs in June of over $100/bbl. MX prices have followed, dropping from over $4.00/gal in June and July to lows not seen since 2009. On 9 January, ICIS assessed mixed xylene spot prices at $1.95-2.10/gal and the contract prices at $1.95/gal.
European MX prices depend to a large extent on gasoline values. Off-take for the downstream PX industry is weak, with volumes seasonally and structurally low. In addition, weak global prices have limited export arbitrage. Gasoline blenders are seen as the only sizeable bidders in the market.
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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.