Asian paraxylene market edges down

Asian benzene prices were flat on April 30 from April 27 at US$1187.50/mt FOB Korea, as bids and offers were rangebound, with markets in China and Japan closed for public holidays. The arbitrage window from Asia to the US Gulf was marginally open, as reported by Platts. FOB USG prices for June benzene were assessed at 418 cents/gal April 27, or about US$1251/mt. Shipping costs from Ulsan to Houston stand at US$50/mt, so spot benzene prices in Asia should be less than US$1201/mt for the window to open. The US prompt price was assessed April 27 at US$1261/mt FOB USG. Benzene production margins were firm as the benzene-naphtha price spread stood at US$180.87/mt April 30, up from US$178.62/mt April 27, and higher than the US$150/mt breakeven level typically required by integrated plants. The European benzene price was assessed at US$1259/mt CIF ARA. Asian isomer-grade mixed xylenes edged down $3/mt April 30 from April 27 to $1,241/mt FOB Korea and $1,251/mt CFR Taiwan, tracking similar movements in downstream paraxylene. The Asian paraxylene market was assessed at US$1544.50/mt CFR Taiwan/China April 30, edging down US$2/mt from April 27, pressured by a fall in isomer-grade mixed xylene prices. Market sentiment was slightly weaker April 30 as some of new purified terephthalic acid plants in China due to start up are seen to be facing some delays. "The market is not as tight as previously expected," a market source said. The US PX price was assessed April 27 at US$1540/mt FOB USG. The European price was assessed April 27 at $1,495/mt FOB ARA. The Asian styrene monomer price for H1 June was assessed flat April 30 at US$1480/mt FOB Korea as regional holidays kept some participants sidelined. The assessment was US$28 above the US prompt price from April 27, which was assessed at US$1452/mt FOB USG.
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