ICIS has a network of locally based reporters providing coverage of regional Benzene markets. They provide not just pricing information, but an in-depth understanding of the factors driving prices and market fluctuations.
Updated to Q3 2018
US benzene supply remained sufficient throughout the third quarter. Operating rates at refineries, which produce benzene as a byproduct of gasoline production, were high throughout the quarter due to strong demand for gasoline exports as well as the summer driving season in the US. A surge in pricing for paraxylene (PX) late in the quarter bolstered rates at on-purpose benzene production units, as some of these plants also produce PX. Imports from Europe rose after a styrene shutdown within the region freed up some incremental supplies.
US benzene demand was healthy throughout the third quarter, although some ups and downs in export demand for styrene created some variation within the quarter. A styrene outage in Europe increased European demand for US styrene. Other major downstream derivatives such as phenol, methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) and nylon witnessed strong demand during the quarter.
We offer the following regional Benzene analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the China 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 major chemical feedstock used to produce a number of other petrochemicals such as ethyl benzene (EB), styrene and solvents such as cumene, phenol and acetone.
The main sources of benzene are from the steam cracking or catalytic reforming of liquid petroleum feedstocks, primarily naphtha with benzene recovered from the aromatic stream.
Although benzene is mainly sourced from naphtha, crude and gasoline futures on NYMEX futures are also shown to be a key driver in the market at times.
Another factor that can influence the market is weather, especially in the summer. Much of the North American benzene production is concentrated in the US Gulf (USG), which is always vulnerable to hurricanes.
The ICIS US Gulf benzene report is used by some majors as a benchmark in the aromatics and petrochemicals sector. This is important because many companies trust ICIS and how we assess the market.
We publish a single contract number and we publish spot prices. That can affect the entire outlook for a month or quarter, or an entire year. The US Gulf report includes contract and weekly spot prices on a free-on-board (FOB) basis.
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