US styrene-benzene spread hikes to highest level since November 2008

The US styrene-to-benzene spread has widened by US$34.66/mt since June 24, growing to its highest level in over 4 1/2 years at US$424.56/mt Monday, according to Platts data. The styrene-benzene spread is at its highest level since November 17, 2008, when it was at $527.79/mt. US spot styrene was at around US$1653.45/mt FOB US Gulf Coast, tracking higher European styrene prices. While, US spot benzene fell to US$1,228.89/mt) FOB USG. A July benzene bid-offer range was heard Tuesday at US$4.08-4.20/gal FOB USG. After falling to its lowest level in three months on May 3 at US$224.94/mt, the spread has been widening since. The wider the styrene-to-benzene spread, with styrene more than benzene, the more profitable it is to produce styrene, industry sources said. Styrene consists of about 70-80% benzene and 30% ethylene, according to industry sources. Spot ethylene was assessed at 57.50 cents/lb ($1,267.64/mt) FD USG Monday. US spot styrene has climbed 2.35 cents/lb since being assessed at 72.65 cents/lb FOB USG on June 27, tracking the higher European styrene levels. Two styrene deals were done Monday at 74.50 cents/lb FOB USG -- one for August for 3,000 mt and one for September for 2,000 mt. Spot supply continued to be described as tight, especially for prompt, sources said. US spot benzene has been fairly stable over the last week because of weak demand and excess supply.
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