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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Isomer-grade xylene (IX) prices have been on a steady downtrend since mid-February, having fallen by almost 12% to $1,175-1,180/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea on 11 May because of a glut in supply for May and June.
A two-month delay in the restart of CPC Corp’s 250,000 tonne/year PX unit in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, coupled with ample and competitively priced Chinese material had dampened demand for spot IX shipments. Sharp drops in Brent crude futures had also sparked a rapid drop in IX prices at the end of April and in early May, when spot IX prices plunged by $65/tonne within a two-week period.
However, IX supply is expected to tighten going into the third and fourth quarters of the year following the anticipated start-up of Dragon Aromatics’ 800,000 tonne/year PX project in Zhangzhou in end-July/August. Supply is also expected to remain tight in 2013 because a total of 2.52m tonnes/year of fresh PX capacity is planned in India, Korea and the Middle East.
Updated to mid-May 2012
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