Asian benzene falls as crude and US benzene rise, styrene monomer up on emerging appetite

Asian benzene rose by US$17/mt or 1.6% day on day to US$1091/mt FOB Korea May 22, on the back of higher crude and US benzene prices, as per Platts. However, market players consider this a knee-jerk reaction to higher crude and US prices, and anticipate a fall in prices given the low demand for downstream derivatives. In the US, benzene climbed to US$1193/mt FOB USG. China's benzene imports in April fell 50% month on month and 28% year on year to 6,040 mt, Chinese customs data released May 22 showed. The Asian paraxylene market rose by US$22 in a day to May 22, to US$1471.50/mt CFR Taiwan/China. Cotton futures and the purified terephthalic acid market were weaker May 22, but the Asian PX market was lifted by rising crude oil futures as well as other aromatics values, notably isomer-grade mixed xylenes. Asian styrene monomer prices moved up firmly May 22 on the back of emerging appetite, especially in China. On an FOB Korea basis for H1 July, prices rose by US$15/mt day on day to US$1351/mt. However, most activity in the market was taking place for August loading and delivery cargoes. For July and June, buyers were becoming increasingly cautious towards the end of the market, partly as domestic China prices were seen under pressure again.
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