Benzene in Asia continues to fall despite crude oil gains

24-Feb-12
Despite gains in crude oil prices, benzene prices in Asia fell by five dollars day on day on February 23 to US$1194.50/mt FOB Korea, in light trade. Front month ICE Brent crude futures rose by over a dollar day on day to US$122.97/b as per Platts. In USA, benzene fell by US$3 on February 22 to US$1273/mt FOB USG, and in Europe, it slipped by half a dollar over the same period to US$1269.50/mt CIF ARA. Asian benzene prices are estimated to be stable going forward amid estimates that oil will range around US$100/barrel. Asian paraxylene prices rose by ten dollars on February 23 from February 22 to be assessed at US$1651.50/mt CFR Taiwan/China. Trading activity in the Asian PX market was subdued February 23 after announcements of March Asian Contract Prices. Japan's JX Nippon Oil & Energy has reduced run rates at its two 400,000 tpa PX plants in Chita to less than 100% since late February 21 due to a glitch, and it is unclear when the rates will return to 100%. Asian styrene monomer for H1 April was assessed US$3/mt higher day on day February 23 at US$1452/mt FOB Korea on the back of rising energy prices and an unexpected outage in the Middle East. The US styrene price was assessed February 22 at US$1493/mt FOB USG. The European styrene price for March was assessed at US$1515/mt FOB Rdam.
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