HOUSTON (ICIS)--US June paraxylene (PX) imports rose, while exports fell year on year amid tight supply, according to the latest International Trade Commission (ITC) data.
Month on month, imports jumped, and exports climbed slightly. Year to date, imports rose while exports dropped compared with the same period in 2017.
Imports rose as US PX supply tightened in the second quarter on a BP plant outage, while demand strengthened amid peak season in downstream polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Exports declined as tight supply left little material available for the spot market. Producers were covering contracts only.
PX supply has since lengthened since June on BP's restart, while downstream demand from purified terephthalic acid (PTA) has waned amid production issues both in the US and Mexico, a primary export destination.
However, the arbitrage window has opened from the US Gulf to Asia, tracking rising prices in that region, with cargoes heard booked in recent weeks. Demand should continue to be strong from Asia while supply is tight there.
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PX is used to produce PTA, which is an intermediate in the production of PET. Major producers of US PX are BP, Indorama, ExxonMobil, Flint Hills Resources and Chevron Phillips Chemical.