SINGAPORE (ICIS)--About 121,000 tonnes of Asian benzene cargoes will head to US for March loading given the presence of a wide arbitrage Asia-US window, amid an absence of other physical outlets in Asia, market players said on Friday.
Spot benzene prices in Asia were at $1,263-1,265/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea for April loading on close of 6 March, showing a gap nearly $200/tonne as compared with the US’s close for prompt barges on 5 March, according to ICIS.
Muted spot Chinese import activity prompted more Asian sellers to send parcels to the US, although sellers were initially more cautious in fixing cargoes because of the unclear price outlook in the US.
South Korea will ship close to 70,000 tonnes in March, down marginally from February which was a 19-month high, players said.
From Japan, about 30,000 tonnes will head to the US for March, down from February’s level of 36,000 tonnes, the largest Japanese benzene maker said.
India will be moving similar volumes from February for March lifting at 12,000 tonnes, players said.
Besides these typical export countries, about 9,000 tonnes of Taiwanese origins will be moved to the US as well in March, players added.
“Nowhere else can benzene be shipped to. US is the only outlet now,” a major South Korean producer said.