US fully refined paraffin wax spot prices move up

05 June 2014 21:26 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US fully refined paraffin wax (p-wax) spot prices are moving up as increases announced earlier in the month find implementation, sources said on Thursday.

“We moved up our June prices into the US market,” one importer said.

“Fully refined wax prices are definitely higher,” another source said.

Spot prices for fully refined liquid p-wax of 125-140F (52-60C) meltpoint ranges were assessed at $1,550-1,693/tonne FOB (free on board) USG (US Gulf), or about 70-77 cents/lb, moving up about 3-4 cents/lb on the spread from the previous assessment.

Fully refined liquid wax of 150F (65C) meltpoint spot prices were most recently assessed at $1,689-1,851/tonne, or about 77-84 cents/lb, up a similar amount as the lower meltpoints.

There were no increases or price changes for slackwax.

P-wax spot prices were stable for almost a year, as shown in the ICIS chart below.

US p-wax prices

Market participants said that long-term stability in pwax prices is common, but shifts in upstream base oil tiers are presently offering prospects for some changes in this aspect.

In early May, ExxonMobil, the largest US wax producer, was confirmed as having announced a 3 cents/lb increase on its fully refined waxes.

Other wax producers followed with announcements at the 3 cents/lb level at various effective dates that stretched into early June.

Higher prices for fully refined p-wax are based upon wide implementation of the increases and underpinned by tightening inventories caused by maintenance downtime and other production factors.

Among other factors affecting wax supply, tighter inventories in upstream Group I heavy base stock output caused by a gradual shift towards using more Group II base oils is having an effect on the p-wax market, assisting the price boost.

Waxes are part of the by-product stream in Group I base oil production but do not arise from Group II production because of the different technology used in making Group II and higher base stocks.  

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By Judith Taylor