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Updated to Q3 2017
US paraxylene (PX) supply was heard to be steady throughout most of the quarter until September, when Hurricane Harvey knocked nearly half of US production offline. Selective toluene disproportionation units (STDPs), which produce a PX-rich stream of mixed xylenes (MX), have been heard not to be running because of strong demand to blend toluene into gasoline instead.
Prices for PX began to rise even before Hurricane Harvey. After the storm, an increase in PX imports was seen to the US east coast.
Updated to Q4 2017
Supply of US orthoxylene (OX) was described as stable during the fourth quarter of 2017. Market participants reported no issues in obtaining material despite Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Gulf Coast production and logistics. OX plants were heard to be back on line by mid-September. Refinery and chemical plant operations largely returned to normal during the course of the quarter, steadily easing supply concerns. Additionally, the OX market quieted as it entered its typical seasonal lull during winter.
Demand for US OX was balanced with supply during the fourth quarter amid a quiet market. The market quickly normalised following disruption from Hurricane Harvey. Following a brief pricing spike in September due to the hurricane, OX prices returned to pre-Harvey levels in October and have remained steady since that time. Demand is lower on winter and holiday seasonality downstream in the phthalic anhydride and plasticizers markets. Year-end inventory squaring lends itself to lower demand.
The paraxylene (PX) report is a weekly snapshot of the market. There are two price ranges in the ICIS report for US Gulf (USG) PX.
The first is the contract price that is settled between major buyers and sellers every month.
The other range is the spot price, which is assessed on a free-on-board (FOB) basis and can move around from week to week.
ICIS talks to US suppliers about production issues and we also talk to buyers about trends in demand.
Additionally, traders, exporters and other consumers of this report are consulted to get relevant feedback on what is happening in the market.
The ICIS PX report is a timely and relevant publication for USG information.
ICIS collects pricing data on a wide range of chemical, energy and fertilizer products, including Paraxylene-Orthoxylene. Our extensive experience in price reporting means we can offer you access to historical data dating back more than 20 years for certain commodities.
Our time series of pricing data enables you to build and model trends, to get a view of where markets might be heading. The data service includes charting functionality, allowing you to chart and download multiple data series for manipulation in your own internal models. You can also export data to Excel via the ICIS dashboard service.
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ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
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