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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Spot prices for the third quarter of the year was volatile as price direction was muddied by an end-user Hyundai Cosmo Petrochemical (HC Petrochemical)’s reduction in operating rates.
Two regiona isomer-grade xylene producers producer had scheduled shutdowns at their facilities, pushing prices up as players expect supply to tighten in October. The two regional facilities were shut for the whole of October and restarted in the first-half of November.
However, prices faced downwards pressure starting in September as weak market conditions in the downstream paraxylene (PX) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) sectors hampered buying interest among isomer-grade xylene players.
Buying activities slowed down because margins were squeezed on the back of a persistently narrowing PX/isomer-grade xylene spread. Breakeven spread for most PX makers were at around $180-220/tonne but the spread was hovering at below $190/tonne.
HC Petrochemical has decided to further cut operating rates from September to operate at around 70% run rates because of squeezed margins. As a result, the company has cancelled previous orders for feedstock arriving in September. Furthermore, HC Petrochemical clouded market outlook by offering second-half October-loading isomer-grade xylene cargoes in the open trading arena.
Updated to January 2014
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