US August OX contract falls on weaker MX market

15 August 2014 23:09 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US August orthoxylene (OX) contract settled down by 4.50 cents/lb ($99/tonne) this week at 60 cents/lb this week, according to trade sources on Friday.

The decline follows the recent drop in US mixed xylenes (MX) prices, which came on the back of falling energy futures and weak demand.

The July OX contract had been settled at 64.50 cents/lb FOB (free on board).

The OX contract typically follows direction from the MX market and from prices in the Asian OX market.

The US (MX) market saw spot prices come down this week, on the back of continued weak demand and declining energy futures. The decline represented the fourth consecutive week that MX prices have come down because of lacklustre demand and supply availability.

OX comes out of the refining process with MX and is typically affected by its price movement, as well as the movement of toluene and benzene that also come out of the gasoline stream.

OX is primarily used to make phthalic anhydride (PA), a key intermediate in the production of plasticizers, which go into polymers like flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Major US OX producers include ExxonMobil Chemical and Flint Hills Resources.

By Brian Balboa