Benzene sips, Styrene monomer assessed flat in Asia

The Asian benzene market edged down $0.50/mt from a day earlier to US$1210/mt FOB Korea on Wednesday, amid a weaker upstream energy complex, as per Platts. Upstream, November ICE Brent crude futures fell US$1.46/barrel day on day to US$110.69/barrel. The Asian paraxylene market inched up by US$1.50/mt day on day to close at US$1523.50/mt CFR Taiwan/China Wednesday, on bargain-hunting, despite weaker crude prices. Trading activity was extremely quiet Wednesday as Chinese and South Korean market participants were away due to local holidays. PX supplies are seen to be tight as new downstream purified terephthalic acid plants are starting up in China. Asian styrene monomer was assessed flat day on day to US$1487/mt FOB Korea for H2 November on Wednesday, shown in red below, due to firm demand for November cargoes. Japan's Taiyo Petrochemical restarted its 370,000 tpa SM plant at Ube Wednesday after maintenance, and plans to ramp it up to full capacity this month. The unit was shut on August 28 for annual maintenance, one of several SM plants in Japan undergoing turnarounds over August-October. Idemitsu's 340,000 tpa plant at Tokuyama was shut late August/early September and is scheduled to be restarted October 20, while Denka shut its 270,000 tpa plant at Chiba September 20 and expects to restart it October 23-24.
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