Petrochemical prices in Asia surged as buyers in Japan seek front-month cargoes, as per Platts. Last weeks’ earthquake and tsunami has taken much of the petrochemical infrastructure offline in Japan, reducing prompt supplies. JX Nippon Oil & Energy shut its aromatics units at Sendai, Kashima and Negishi, which have a total benzene capacity of 425,000 tpa. At Chiba, JFE Chemical also shut its 120,000 tpa coal-based aromatics plant. On Tuesday, benzene assessment climbed US$30 to U$1212.50/mt FOB Korea. Reduced benzene feedstocks in Japan will hurt domestic styrene monomer production.
However, naphtha feedstock prices fell on concerns of demand loss and port closures resulting from the earthquake in Japan.