LONDON (ICIS)--The Europe orthoxylene (OX) contract for January has been agreed at €1,005/tonne, a rollover from the previous month, as the initial settlement heard earlier in the week received further support from players on Friday.
There has so far been no clear indication of market direction and sentiment in Europe, with uncertain downstream demand counteracted by balanced availability overall, and very little liquidity for spot material.
One southern European aromatics unit was undergoing a maintenance shutdown from 4-20 January, and there was talk of another maintenance shutdown at a refinery in the region, meaning that potentially 7,500 tonnes of capacity has been taken out of the market this month, and combined with ongoing questions surrounding Total’s Gonfreville site following strike action in December, this was counteracting any significant downward price pressure.
Despite the upcoming closure of Arkema’s 90,000 tonne/year phthalic anhydride (PA) plant in Chauny, France, by March 2014, sources in the market do not expect any significant change in terms of overall balances downstream.
The OX market in Asia has seen limited purchasing activity so far in 2014, with players unwilling to build stocks ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays.
The contract was agreed on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis.