HOUSTON (ICIS)--US benzene contracts for May settled within the April settlement range, ICIS learned on Friday.
US May benzene contracts stand at $2.69-2.70/gal FOB (free on board) USG (US Gulf), compared with $2.66-2.71/gal in April.
Benzene contract prices typically settle on the last day of the prior month and are heavily influenced by prices in the spot market.
Benzene spot prices opened the week largely flat from the prior week, although spot prices dipped a bit late in the week, tracking losses in crude oil prices and Asian and European benzene markets.
Benzene consumption from the styrene sector should be picking up as several styrene units are starting to return to production following shutdowns. However, participants in the styrene market said that limited export demand, combined with healthier supply levels, are weighing down styrene prices.
Spot prices rose to a four-week high in the week ended 7 April, owing to stronger oil prices and the initial start up of Americas’ Styrenics 950,000 tonne/year unit in St. James, Louisiana.
However, spot prices lost much of their momentum towards the end of April as styrene restarts did not result in as much of a pick-up in demand as sources had anticipated while crude oil prices sank back below the $50/bbl threshold.