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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Xylene prices fell from end-May to June, weighed down by poor demand and bearish sentiment following the decline in crude futures and falls in stock markets amid the weak macroeconomic environment. High inventory levels of xylenes further escalated the downward price trend.
The solvent-grade xylene market followed a "V" trend in the three months ended mid-August. Though market sentiment was weakened by the poor macroeconomic conditions in June, summer was the traditional peak demand season for solvents. Furthermore, as most solvent-xylene cargoes were bonded, the limited availability of cargoes subsequently boosted prices.
Isomer-grade xylene prices were largely in line with solvent xylene prices. Isomer-grade xylene prices fell from mid-May to June, following the decline in the aromatics market. Prices fell to CNY8,300/tonne and remained stable, before rising in July as those with cargoes were unwilling to lower their offers due to high cost pressure. However, trade remained subdued, as downstream demand was still weak. Demand for isomer-grade xylenes weakened after Yangzi Petrochemical shut its downstream paraxylene (PX) plants for maintenance.
Xylene prices then rallied from July to mid-August, when consumption from downstream factories increased amid curtailed supply of solvents. By mid-August, isomer-grade xylene prices were at yuan (CNY) 8,775/tonne ex-tank Zhangjiagang, while solvent prices were at CNY8,600-8,625/tonne ex-tank Zhangjiagang.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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