US spot toluene, MX continue down with lower crude, softening gasoline demand

Source: ICIS News

2018/11/09

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US spot toluene and mixed xylenes (MX) continued falling with lower crude and softening gasoline demand.

US spot toluene was assessed at $2.25-2.65/gal FOB (free on board) from $2.40-2.85/gal the previous week.

Toluene prices are at their lowest levels since late January.

US spot MX was assessed at $2.67/gal FOB from $2.80/gal the previous week.

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Crude futures finished down for the 10th consecutive session in response to a stronger dollar and a stock market sell-off. Oversupply concerns and a potential slowdown in the global economy have driven the market into oversold territory.

Meanwhile, gasoline supplies rose while consumption decreased last week, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), supporting decreased demand for octane-enhancing aromatics during the winter gasoline season.

While gasoline prices may continue to fluctuate with crude, values are expected to remain overall lower than the levels seen during the peak summer driving season.

Meanwhile, prices for benzene and paraxylene (PX). which account for the majority of chemical-demand for toluene and MX respectively, also fell, putting further downward pressure on the markets.

Benzene prices are expected to remain dependent on crude values and downstream styrene demand.

PX prices are expected to continue softening amid falling demand in the polyester chain because of a seasonal downturn.

As such, toluene and MX are expected to continue declining through the fourth quarter.

Major producers of US toluene and MX include ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, Flint Hills Resources, Valero, Total  and CITGO.