LONDON (ICIS)--The European benzene spot market has been facing upwards pressure due to firmer movements seen in the US, sources said on Friday.
US benzene prices were higher in the week commencing 6 November as producers had difficulties with their aromatics extraction units while shipments from Europe faced delays.
This is a continued trend that is affecting the European market with data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing in the week ending 13 October that US refinery operating rates had softened.
Although, these rates increased in the week ended 20 October, they were still below pre-Hurricane Harvey levels.
Consequently many in the European benzene market are keeping an eye on movements in the US with a lack of clarity among sources as to how long this trend will last.
Market participants often said during the week commencing 6 November that they were adopting a wait-and-see mode with their transactions as they wanted to discover how US prices had moved before buying or selling.
In Europe, the downstream phenol market continues to be tight, although production is balancing following unplanned issues in October.