US spot benzene lower, more stable

Jessie Waldheim

04-Sep-2015

HOUSTON (ICIS)–US spot benzene prices on Friday were lower than a week ago, but deals were heard in a narrower range as September contract prices settled and upstream crude oil was less volatile.

Benzene contract prices had settled on Monday at $2.01/gal, a 79 cents/gal drop from August levels. Contract prices generally take direction from the spot market prior to settlements. Prior to the August settlement, benzene spot deals ranged $2.77-2.82/gal FOB, compared with $1.88-2.15/gal last week.

Benzene spot prices had been under pressure after several weeks of declines in upstream crude oil. However, last week financial market losses helped pressure West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures and spot benzene values to six-year lows. Crude oil futures and financial markets recovered, but the uncertainty kept some out of the benzene market and kept values soft.

The upstream volatility lessened early this week, and spot benzene stabilised in a narrow range $2.05-2.07/gal FOB for most of the week.

Spot benzene was assessed on Friday at $2.03-2.08/gal FOB, compared with $2.09-2.15/gal FOB a week ago.

Major US benzene producers include ExxonMobil, Flint Hills Resources, LyondellBasell, Marathon Petroleum, Shell and Phillips 66.

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