Benzene reports are published weekly by ICIS in Asia, Europe and the US, with contract and spot price assessments, market news and analysis.
Benzene forecast reports for all three regions are published on a monthly basis, covering the market up to one year ahead. Monthly forecast reports are also available for the Styrene market.
Updated to Q3 2018
Supply is expected to lengthen in Q3, with Vietnam’s Nghi Son Petrochemicals shipping cargoes to customers. Regional turnarounds have mostly been completed in the second quarter with few apparent third quarter shutdowns. The East-West arbitrage window would likely remain narrow as demand in the US showed little signs of reviving.
Demand was expected to pick up in the third quarter from downstream sectors, but with the ongoing trade spat between the US and China market participants have become increasingly hesitant. Any development on this front would likely have an impact on the global economy and ultimately on the benzene market.
European benzene supply will be partly driven by length in China, and managing high global inventory levels. Imports are likely to continue entering Europe as producers in other regions look to find outlets for excess supply. The short-term tightness is likely to ease by the middle of July and global inventories are set to remain high for a short while.
Demand for benzene in Europe in July is likely to remain in line with June levels, while August demand is expected to be lower because of reduced activity in the holiday period. Buying interest should pick up in September as players return to business after the summer holiday.
Benzene supply is expected to stabilize as the restart of styrene units should help absorb excess inventories. On-purpose production economics may remain poor through the first part of the quarter but could improve near the end of the quarter as the summer gasoline season winds down. This may result in seasonally slower demand for toluene, the feedstock for on-purpose benzene units.
Benzene demand is expected to remain steady into the third quarter. Styrene operating rates are likely to increase during the quarter, which may lead to greater benzene consumption. Demand for other benzene derivatives is also expected to remain steady in the coming months.
We offer the following regional Benzene analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Benzene marketplace.
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Benzene is used primarily as a raw material in the synthesis of styrene (polystyrene plastics and synthetic rubber).
Benzene is a colourless, refractive liquid with a characteristic aromatic odour. Its vapour is toxic and highly flammable. In cold weather, benzene solidifies to a white crystalline mass. It is slightly soluble in water, miscible with ethyl alcohol, ether, acetone, carbon tetrachloride, carbon disulphide, and glacial acetic acid (GAA).
Benzene is the largest volume aromatic petrochemical used to produce a number of petrochemical intermediates.
Ethylbenzene (EB) is the largest chemical outlet for benzene and nearly all is consumed in the production of styrene.
The second largest outlet for benzene is cumene which is nearly all consumed in phenol production with acetone formed as a coproduct.
The third largest outlet for benzene is cyclohexane (CX) which finds its way primarily into the nylon chain via caprolactam and adipic acid.
The fourth main derivative of benzene is nitrobenzene, which can be used to make aniline.
Benzene is used to make a number of other chemical intermediates such as alkylbenzene used in detergents, maleic anhydride(unsaturated polyester resins) and chlorobenzenes (engineering polymers).
The main sources of benzene are from the steam cracking or catalytic reforming of liquid petroleum feedstocks, primarily naphtha, where the benzene is recovered from the aromatics stream. Other processes are hydrodealkylation (HDA) of toluene and toluene disproportionation (TDP).
ICIS Benzene Price Index
US Benzene Prices were assessed at $2.75 – 2.83 / gal FOB (free on board) in mid June 2015. Downstream US styrene outages have depressed benzene prices whilst at the same time fuel blending demand has raised Prices for Toluene to $2.95-3.08/gal. This change has almost eliminated the spread between the two aromatics in the US for the first half of 2015.
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