Price and market trends: Europe toluene activity limited as spot range widens

24 July 2014 11:23 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

The summer holiday season combined with diverging price ideas is limiting activity in the European toluene market, sources said on 17 July.

“Bids are possibly around $1,160/tonne, but there is no interest from sellers at this level,” said one source. “Offers are around $1,200/tonne.”

Several players earlier this month had noted that the upward pressure on aromatics in June in the US and Europe was starting to subside. This was most prevalent in the benzene market, where numbers have fallen back below $5.00/gal FOB in the US.

This has also weighed down on the European benzene market to a degree, with spot prices showing gradual signs of easing off since the start of the month.

As a result, any demand for toluene in Europe for hydrodealkylation (HDA) production, converting toluene into benzene, would only be economically viable at lower levels in comparison to recent selling indications.

There is also no real support for current toluene numbers in Europe from the downstream toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) market, despite some production constraints supporting higher pricing in July.

By Truong Mellor