LONDON (ICIS)--European toluene spot prices have moved lower this week following downward pressure in crude oil values as well as lower Eurobob gasoline numbers, sources said on Friday.
For most part of the week, Eurobob gasoline was trading close to the low $500s and even below from midweek onwards.
In the distribution market, there were offers at €565/tonne on a free carrier (FCA) basis.
On the sidelines of the 147th European Petrochemical Luncheon that took place in Dusseldorf, Germany this week, sources said that toluene demand was steadily improving as key European economies like Germany are still performing well.
However, these positive indications related to volumes were not that evident in the spot market but had to do mostly with contractual volumes, one industry player said.
Another source said that toluene is traditionally more of an export product and not so popular for European destinations, while mixed xylenes are more obvious in the domestic market.
A producer said that during the first quarter of the year it had received order requests for toluene from some unusual destinations such as Pakistan.
Premiums over Eurobob gasoline were still holding around $90-115/tonne this week.
Nevertheless, toluene extraction needs a stronger incentive to keep it going and a premium of $90/tonne is not enough, according to a source.
In terms of supply, players seemed relaxed as there seems to be a fair amount of product immediately available and in storage as well.