Stronger crude prices pushed Asian petrochemical prices higher overnight, as per Platts. Meanwhile, the arbitrage window from South Korea to USA has closed so Asian market increasing concerns about the buildup of benzene stocks in the region. Also ExxonMobil's second petrochemical project on Singapore's Jurong Island has been delayed to 2012 from 2011.
The Asian benzene benchmark jumped US$16/mt day-on-day to be assessed at US$1087.50/mt FOB Korea as August Brent crude futures climbed 74 cents in the day to US$112.68. The rise in crude overshadowed an overnight fall in US and European benzene prices. US benzene price was assessed on Monday at US$1112/mt FOB USG. European benzene fell to US$1093/mt CIF ARA. This morning in Europe benzene for June was heard bid at US$1080/mt and offered at US$1100/mt CIF ARA.
Paraxylene prices in Asia rose by US$19/mt on Tuesday, the strongest day-on-day increase since May 10, to be assessed at US$1463/mt CFR Taiwan/China. In China, Fujiadahua's 700,000 tpa PX plant in Dalian province was reported to be down for two weeks due to mechanical problems. US paraxylene price was assessed Monday at US$1442.50/mt FOB USG, while European paraxylene price was assessed at US$1465/mt FOB Rdam.
Asian styrene monomer rose US$11/mt Tuesday to US$1354/mt FOB Korea on the back of firmer energy and feedstock benzene. An Asian trader said it is unlikely that Northeast Asian producers will cut production going forward as their margins have improved on sharp falls in ethylene and a generally wider spread to benzene.
Ethylene, which has shed US$209/mt since May 20, was unchanged day-on-day at US$1096/mt CFR Northeast Asia Tuesday. US styrene price remained the highest globally at US$1394/mt FOB USG. The European price was assessed at US$1380/mt FOB Rdam on Monday.