US Jan PX falls 0.25 cent/lb on high inventories, drop in spot MX

17 January 2014 22:31 Source:ICIS News

NEW YORK (ICIS)--The US paraxylene (PX) contract for January was settled at a 0.25 cent/lb ($5.5/tonne) decrease from December, market sources said on Friday.

The January contract price was settled at 69.75 cents/lb DEL (delivered), down from 70 cents/lb DEL in December, as assessed by ICIS.

One market participant pointed to high inventory in the market as one underlying fundamental in the small drop.

Lower co-product mixed xylenes (MX) spot prices were also considered to have had an influence, the source said.

The US PX monthly contract usually follows trends in the PX Asia contract price (ACP). The PX ACP for January was settled at a $15/tonne increase from a partial settlement achieved in the December ACP.

November and December 2013 were months in which the PX ACP was left with no major settlement.

Supply in the US PX market is said to be systemically long, market sources have said.

Demand remains soft as the downstream polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market is in its seasonal lull.

PX is primarily used to make PTA, an intermediate chemical used to manufacture PET. A major outlet for PET is in the production of plastic bottles for beverages.

Major US PX producers include BP Chemicals, ExxonMobil Chemical, Chevron Phillips Chemical and Flint Hills Resources.

By Feliza Mirasol