US spot MX prices firm on tight supply post-Harvey

08 September 2017 23:32 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US mixed xylenes (MX) prices increased week on week as the market continues to respond to production issues caused by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey in the US Gulf region.

The US spot MX weekly range increased to $2.40-2.70/gal ($731-823/tonne) FOB (free on board) US Gulf (USG), up from $2.35-2.62/gal FOB USG the previous week. The Friday closing range was assessed at $2.50-2.70/gal FOB USG, wider from $2.52-2.62/gal FOB USG the previous week. The weekly and Friday close ranges were assessed on the basis of bids and offers.

Short supply of MX in the market for chemical use have caused spot prices to increase. Supply is expected to remain limited until production levels are restored, downstream units come back online and more product becomes available for the chemical market.

Although several refineries impacted by the storm have since restarted, many others are running at reduced rates and quite a significant number remain down.

One market source noted that current blend values for aromatics do not support MX extraction for chemical use, as many refiners are opting to blend MX into gasoline rather than extract it for spot sale.

Moreover, the most recent data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed weekly US gasoline prices have risen by an average of 12% nationwide due to Hurricane Harvey.

Tight supply and higher gasoline prices are expected to continue to lift MX bid and offer ranges in the near term until production issues are resolved and supplies are restored.

By Lucas Hall