Asia benzene stabilises pre-Lunar New Year after recent rout

14 February 2018 04:22 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s benzene market regained its footing after a recent sharp price decline, as negative market sentiment caused by the global stock market turmoil and falling crude futures last week has dissipated.

Spot prices  were hovering in the low-$870/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea levels this week, after falling by more than $60/tonne last week.

Some participants attributed the steady performance of benzene to its key downstream styrene monomer (SM) market, where prices gained ground after preliminary results of China’s antidumping investigations were released on 12 February.

“Stronger SM numbers have sustained benzene values somewhat this week,” said a broker in Korea.

Spot SM prices rose above $1,450/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China this week, ICIS data showed.

Benzene is a base chemical used to manufacture other chemicals like styrene, phenol and caprolactam.

However, weak demand for benzene is expected to prevail over the next two weeks amid the Lunar New Year holidays kicking off across Asia late this week, with the key Chinese market to close for a full week on 15-21 February.

ICIS Editorial Chart goes herePicture: Crane vehicles lift containers at the fourth phase of the Yangshan Deep-Water Port in Shanghai, China. (Source: Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock)

By Clive Ong