HOUSTON (ICIS)--US benzene contracts for August settled on Monday at a decrease of 2-3 cents/gal, putting prices at $2.48-2.49/gal FOB (free on board) US Gulf.
The August contract marked the second consecutive month of softer US benzene contracts. The settlement was also the lowest benzene settlement since December 2016.
The 2-3 cent/gal drop in the August contracts was in line with market sentiment, as participants had been anticipating the contract to decline by around 2-4 cents/gal.
Benzene contract prices typically settle on the last day of the prior month and are heavily influenced by prices in the spot market.
The drop in the contract price mirrored a month of weaker spot prices in which benzene prices rarely broke above the $2.50/gal threshold. Illiquidity in the downstream styrene market along with higher global inventory levels were cited among the main factors weighing down spot prices.
Spot deals for August were heard last week in the range of $2.46-2.49/gal delivered duty paid (DDP) US Gulf.