Benzene in Asia continues to fall despite crude oil gains

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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