HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US cumene contract range for November settled lower by 3 cents/lb ($66/tonne, €49/tonne) from October, in line with the sharp drop in upstream benzene contract values, sources said on Monday.
The decrease moved the November cumene range to 60-61 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS, linked to the November benzene contract, which recently fell by 27 cents/gal to $4.10/gal.
Previously, the October cumene contract also settled marginally lower on a less-precipitous October benzene drop of 3 cents/gal.
Weak cumene market conditions continue to stem largely from a fundamentally weak downstream phenol market in which operating rates are still in a range of 65-70%. Soft phenol derivative markets include epoxy resins and phenolic resins, where sources say competition from imports is a factor.
Major US cumene producers include CITGO, Flint Hills Resources, Axiall, Marathon, Philadelphia Energy Solutions and Shell Chemical.
($1 = €0.74)