Asia benzene-naphtha spread peaks to 5.5 year high amid stronger SM

The spread between benzene and feedstock naphtha in Asia widened by US$14.75/mt day on day to US$381.50/mt on Friday, reaching a five-and-a-half year high, as per Platts. Asian benzene surged US$16/mt day on day to US$1323.50/mt FOB Korea Friday, while naphtha lagged behind with a US$1.25/mt rise over the same period to US$942/mt CFR Japan. Benzene prices were supported by tight prompt supply of downstream styrene monomer, which led to the widening of the spread between benzene and naphtha, market sources said. The last time the benzene-naphtha spread extended to this level was on June 1, 2007, when the spread was at US$407.50/mt, according to Platts data. Asian benzene producers typically need benzene to be US$150/mt higher than naphtha to breakeven.
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