Month: March 2019

European premiums for toluene to gasoline were unchanged on Friday.

Chemical Industry

– April premium at $130/mt

– Blend value pegged $50-$60/mt

European premiums for toluene to gasoline were unchanged on Friday. April was assessed at $130/mt, with May assessed at parity. An offer of $150/mt was heard in the market, which a trader called “ridiculous.” Lower numbers were agreed by sources over the last two days, although there was confusion as to  who would have interest in buying material. Major consumers said their needs were being met by term volumes and that they were not interested in spot material. In Asia, material has been tight with talk of increasing demand from   the gasoline blend pool. This was expected in Europe too, though interest from blenders was pegged at $50-$60/mt by market sources. With supply in Europe lengthening, and no sign of workable exports into the US or Asia, demand at lower premiums from gasoline blenders may contain oversupply before spot petrochemical demand resurfaces.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global Platts assessed the CIF ARA toluene premium over Eurobob gasoline at $130/mt for April on Friday, stable from Wednesday, within the range of $120-$130/mt pegged by a trader. Sources cited talk of a booking at $120/mt on Wednesday, but this was not seen as market value due to prompt terms and larger volume. The May premium was assessed at $130/mt, flat to April.

 

After five weeks at a discount to, or at par with, its Northwest European counterpart,

Chemical Industry

– Participants talk premium at 4-6 cents

– MTBE in Asia, Europe weaken

After five weeks at a discount to, or at par with, its Northwest European counterpart, spot Gulf Coast MTBE moved to a premium Friday, pushed up by logistical concerns in the Houston Ship Channel. The FOB USG marker was assessed at a 4-cent premium to FOB ARA, coming at the lower end of notional talk. Market participants suggested the differential could be a premium anywhere from 4 cents to 6 cents, citing slowed marine traffic at the Houston Ship Channel. While the Houston Ship Channel was declared open to all traffic by the Captain of the Port Wednesday, transits through a contamination zone in   the area were limited to one-way daylight transits. Related energy softened on   the day, down 1.56 cents to $1.8799/gal. Blended and shipped values were last estimated at near 271 cents/gal, while the MTBE factor relative to gasoline was at 1.1030. In Asia, the FOB Singapore marker was down $18/mt (about 5.06     cents/gal) to $706/mt (198.65 cents/gal). In Europe, the FOB ARA marker was down 2.67 cents/gal to 200.48 cents/gal.

RATIONALE:

Spot USG MTBE was assessed Friday at 204.48 cents/gal FOB USG, up 1.33 cents day on day. The differential to the FOB ARA marker moved to a 4-cent premium,  coming at the low end of talk at a 4-6 cent premium.

 

US spot benzene prices extended declines Friday as prices fell

Chemical Industry

-Asian benzene falls on weak China buy interest

-Styrene sheds $55 on day

US spot benzene prices extended declines Friday as prices fell sharply on the heels of declining Asian values. Sources pointed to weaker Chinese demand and pressure from the downstream styrene segment as drivers behind the lower benzene pricing. April benzene was assessed 11 cents lower day on day as the DDP and FOB assessments closed at 201 cents/gal. The May benzene market moved lower in concert and the FOB and DDP prices were assessed at 202 cents/gal. Sources said that buy interest was limited amid declines, which have seen benzene shed 27 cents over the past two days. Despite the declines, sources in   the market anticipated the April benzene contract would settle well above current spot levels and at least two sources suggested the settlement would be north of 220 cents/gal. Downstream, spot styrene prices fell sharply day on day, tracing lower Asian and European values. Prompt and forward month styrene   prices were assessed at $1,010/mt (45.81 cents/lb). In related markets, May WTI futures fell 11 cents day on day to settle at $59.30/barrel.

RATIONALE:

US April benzene on a DDP USG basis was assessed down 11 cents day on day to 201 cents/gal on a bid-offer range last seen at 193-201 cents/gal. The April FOB price was assessed 11 cents lower as well and closed level to the DDP price. May benzene was assessed 13 cents lower day on day, with the DDP          assessment closing at 202 cents/gal on a bid-offer range of 196-203 cents/gal. The April FOB assessment closed level with the DDP price. Downstream, April styrene was assessed $55 lower day on day at $1,010/mt FOB USG (45.81 cents/lb) on notional ranges of $1,000-$1,050/mt and considering a netback to    the European styrene price. May styrene was assessed level to April, maintaining structure seen the previous day.

 

US aromatics markets were largely unchanged Friday amid thin activity.

-Ample availability persists for aromatics

-Logistics headache remains for buyers

US aromatics markets were largely unchanged Friday amid thin activity. Logistics along the Houston Ship Channel have started to simplify, but a backlog of vessels continued to loom over the market. Sources have said that plenty of product exists but is unable to reach buyers. Truck and rail logistics were not sufficient to meet day-to-day demand, leaving many sitting on the sidelines until logistics allow vessels to both enter the ship channel and find somewhere to discharge product. Prices could dip in the coming weeks, according to trader sources, as toluene and mixed xylene currently offshore reach the market. Paraxylene remained stable amid the quiet market conditions.

RATIONALE:

US front-month (April) nitration-grade toluene Friday was assessed unchanged   at 266 cents/gal, below a 270 cents/gal offer. May toluene was assessed unchanged at 266 cents/gal, flat to April. April mixed xylene prices were assessed 1 cent lower at 284 cents/gal, below a 285 cents/gal offer. May MX was assessed 1 cent lower at 284 cents/gal, flat to April. Prompt spot PX prices were assessed unchanged at $1,030/mt FOB USG.

 

European paraxylene rebounded on Friday following nearly two weeks of bearish.

– OX Mar CP settles at Eur860/mt, up Eur35

– MX premiums stabilize after sharp drops this week

European paraxylene rebounded on Friday following nearly two weeks of bearish sentiment led by announcements of turnarounds in downstream purified terephthalic acid plants in Asia as well as the smooth start up operations of China’s Hengli Refining and Chemical Co’s 1.5 million mt/year paraxylene plant by June. Despite the slight rebound on Friday, European participants were still wary of the backwardated structure on a CFR Taiwan/China basis, with H2 May $7/mt higher than H1 June. Prompt loading ARA cargoes are in danger of arriving in H1 June if there are transport delays. May loading cargoes would be expected to arrive in June. European mixed xylene premiums were stable on day, having fallen $17/mt so far this week as supply has become available and demand has remained low. April closed at $123/mt CIF ARA with May flat to April. European orthoxylene cargoes are expected to be arriving this week and    next, amounting to around 7,000 mt. Sources have said this will balance the market in April. Spot pricing was stable at $1,000/mt FOB ARA, with no new cargoes heard booked Friday. In contract news, the OX CP for March was confirmed as fully settling at Eur860/mt, up Eur35 from February. This was lower than previous expectations, which were in the range of Eur865-Eur880/mt.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global Platts assessed the M1 April mixed xylene CIF ARA premium to Eurobob gasoline stable on the day at $123/mt Friday on no disproving indications. The M2 May MX CIF ARA premium was stable at $123/mt on no disproving indications. April Northwest European paraxylene rose $7 to $944/mt   FOB ARA, tracking the CFR Taiwan/China H2 May laycan. May rose $6.25 to $937.50/mt FOB ARA, tracking the CFR Taiwan/China H1 June laycan. The paraxylene 5-30 day forward spot price was assessed as the average of the period at $944/mt FOB ARA, stable on day. Orthoxylene was assessed stable at $1,000/mt FOB ARA on no disproving indications.

S&P Global Platts assessed benzene for delivery 5-30 days forward at $699/mt CIF ARA Friday.

Chemical Industry

– 5-30 day price down $20/mt on day

– Energy complex exerts downward pressure

S&P Global Platts assessed benzene for delivery 5-30 days forward at $699/mt CIF ARA Friday, $20 lower on the day. Sources said prices tracked the Asian market where FOB Korea benzene was assessed down $49 on the day at $538/mt Friday. A European market source said the energy complex also exerted downward pressure on the benzene market. At Platts 16:30 London time close ICE Brent crude oil futures were down at $67.13/b from $67.95/b Wednesday. The benzene-naphtha spread also indicated that the benzene market was regaining length. The spread was last at $177.25/mt Wednesday, down from $183.50/mt Friday. Downstream, on the European styrene market, spot prices fell to their lowest since November 1, 2018 following earlier drops in Asia. S&P Global Platts assessed styrene for loading 5-30 days forward at $1,168/mt FOB ARA Friday, down $59 on the day. Asian styrene monomer fell $45 on the day to $997.50/mt CFR China and $957.50/mt FOB Korea Friday on high styrene inventories, weaker-than-expected demand, and news of the Hengli refinery producing on-specification paraxylene.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global Platts assessed benzene for delivery 5-30 days forward at $699/mt CIF ARA Friday, down $20 from Wednesday’s assessment. April was assessed down $20 on the day at $699/mt, within the latest bid-offer range of $660-$700/mt. May was assessed at $669/mt, down $25 on the day, within the latest bid-offer range of $640-$670/mt. June was down $25 on the day at $649/mt, based on a stable May-June backwardation of $20/mt and within the latest bid-offer range of $630-$660/mt. July and August were assessed flat to    June. FOB was assessed at $699/mt, flat to CIF.

 

After five weeks at a discount to, or at par with, its Northwest European counterpart,

Chemical Industry

– Participants talk premium at 4-6 cents

– MTBE in Asia, Europe weaken

After five weeks at a discount to, or at par with, its Northwest European counterpart, spot Gulf Coast MTBE moved to a premium Friday, pushed up by logistical concerns in the Houston Ship Channel. The FOB USG marker was assessed at a 4-cent premium to FOB ARA, coming at the lower end of notional     talk. Market participants suggested the differential could be a premium anywhere from 4 cents to 6 cents, citing slowed marine traffic at the Houston Ship Channel. While the Houston Ship Channel was declared open to all traffic by the Captain of the Port Wednesday, transits through a contamination zone in   the area were limited to one-way daylight transits. Related energy softened on the day, down 1.56 cents to $1.8799/gal. Blended and shipped values were last estimated at near 271 cents/gal, while the MTBE factor relative to gasoline was at 1.1030. In Asia, the FOB Singapore marker was down $18/mt (about 5.06 cents/gal) to $706/mt (198.65 cents/gal). In Europe, the FOB ARA marker was down 2.67 cents/gal to 200.48 cents/gal.

RATIONALE:

Spot USG MTBE was assessed Friday at 204.48 cents/gal FOB USG, up 1.33 cents day on day. The differential to the FOB ARA marker moved to a 4-cent premium,  coming at the low end of talk at a 4-6 cent premium.

 

toluene price updates
toluene price updates

European MTBE fell to $712.50/mt FOB ARA on Friday,

Chemical Industry

– Factor flat on the day at 1.131

– ETBE premium inches up on logistical constrains

European MTBE fell to $712.50/mt FOB ARA on Friday, down $9.50 from Wednesday. MTBE factor, the relationship to Eurobob gasoline, was assessed at 1.148 Friday, stable on the day. MTBE demand was good on the day and supported by the widening gasoline to naphtha spread, which indicates more       demand for octane boosting components such as MTBE. “There is plenty of demand,” a blender said. However no trades were reported done on the spot market, despite the three bids by Varo, Gunvor and Finco as well as the offer by Shell in Platts Market on Close assessment process. In upstream energy markets, crude oil was increased on the day. The ICE Brent front-month London 16:30 assessment was down 82 cents at $67.13/b Friday. Eurobob gasoline barges followed and were assessed at $630/mt FOB AR on Friday, down from $638.50/mt on Wednesday. The EBOB April barges swap assessed also down $10.50 from Wednesday at $624/mt. MTBE’s premium over EBOB front-month swap was calculated at $88.50/mt on Wednesday, up $1. The European ETBE premium over MTBE was assessed at $150/mt FOB AR on Friday, up from $140/mt on Wednesday, in line with sources talk of higher values. The recent slide on MTBE factor in parallel with drop in ETBE premium resulted a drop on overall ETBE value over gasoline. However, the logistical issues caused by the fire at the storage terminal in USG last week hit product movements across the globe according, to a producer. “The market fundamentally is neither rather short or rather long,”  the producer added.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global Platts assessed the European MTBE factor at 1.131 on Friday, unchanged to Wednesday. Neither the sharpest outstanding bid, at $705/mt by Varo for mid-window dates, nor the outstanding offer at $717/mt from Shell disproved Wednesday’s MTBE factor. ETBE was assessed at an $150/mt premium to MTBE Friday, up $10 from Wednesday, reflecting logistical restrictions, and below a producer indication heard in a $175-$180/mt range.

 

Asian isomer-grade mixed xylene was assessed down $11/mt day on day at $727/mt.

– PX-MX spread narrows sharply

– China MX inventory shrinks

Asian isomer-grade mixed xylene was assessed down $11/mt day on day at $727/mt   FOB Korea and down $8/mt at $751/mt CFR Taiwan Friday amid lower domestic prices in China. East China prompt domestic prices were heard in the afternoon   around Yuan 5,400/mt, equating to $685/mt on an import parity basis, down from around Yuan 5,600/mt the day before. The price drop came as sentiment weakened amid retreats in other major markets and market talk of plant shutdowns due to safety inspections following last week’s fatal explosion at a Chinese chemical   plant, sources said. However, the East China MX inventory level was heard to have fallen to 95,000-100,000 mt this week from around 120,000 mt last week, sources said. In downstream paraxylene, the Asian PX/naphtha spread has been     narrowing daily since early March as PX demand softened amid a string of turnarounds in North Asia while the value of feedstock naphtha remained stable. The spread between Asian benchmark CFR Taiwan/China PX and physical CFR Japan naphtha stood at $485.42/mt at the Asian close Friday. PX’s premium to the oil feedstock was as high as $591.67/mt on March 5. The weakness in the PX market was foreseen especially after China’s Hengli Petrochemical postponed maintenance at its downstream purified terephthalic acid unit to March from January in response to prevailing market conditions. Other PTA turnarounds were also heard affecting demand for PX. The spread between PX and isomer-MX has narrowed significantly since hitting a multi-year   high of $466.67/mt on March 12. The spread shrunk to $296.92/mt on March 27 before widening to $314.67/mt on Friday. The last time it was narrower than March 27 was on November 9 last year at $296.83/mt.

RATIONALE:

Isomer-MX was assessed down $11/mt day on day at $727/mt FOB Korea and down $8/mt at $751/mt CFR Taiwan Friday. The markers take the average of the third and fourth half-month laycans, currently H2 April and H1 May. No bids or offers were registered during the Platts Market on Close assessment process. On a CFR Taiwan basis, an offer for May arrival cargo was heard lowered to $750/mt. The May laycans were assessed at $748/mt CFR Taiwan, below the offer, and considering sharp falls in domestic prices in China. Keeping the backwardation between H2 April and May unchanged day on day at $6/mt, H2 April was assessed at $754/mt CFR Taiwan. On an FOB Korea basis,  an offer was heard at $725/mt for May loading cargo. The May laycan was assessed below the offer at $724/mt FOB Korea. H2 April was assessed at $730/mt FOB Korea. The above rationale applies to the following market data.

 

Asian PX prices rebounded $6.75/mt day on day to $1,041.67/mt CFR Taiwan/China and $1,022.67/mt FOB Korea Friday,

– May trades twice at $1,044/mt CFR Taiwan/China

– Hengli shuts 2.2 mil mt/year No. 3 PTA line

Asian PX prices rebounded $6.75/mt day on day to $1,041.67/mt CFR Taiwan/China and $1,022.67/mt FOB Korea Friday, after a bear run that began March 15. During that time, Asian paraxylene prices fell $77.41/mt to $1,034.92/mt CFR Taiwan/China Wednesday, the lowest since January 8, 2019, when PX was assessed at $1,004.67/mt CFR Taiwan/China. There were two trades during the Platts Market on Close assessment process Friday, both for May delivery at $1,044/mt CFR Taiwan/China. An outstanding Asian-origin May bid by Hengli at $1,045/mt stood at close of MOC without any sellers expressing any interest,  while an outstanding June offer from BP Singapore at $1,038/mt also failed to  attract buying interest. In upstream naphtha market, the benchmark Mean of Platts CFR Japan marker was assessed at $556.25/mt Friday, down $10/mt on the day. The Asian paraxylene/naphtha spread has been narrowing daily since early March, as demand for the aromatics product softened amid a string of turnarounds in North Asia, while the value for feedstock naphtha remained stable. Spread between CFR Taiwan/China paraxylene and physical CFR Japan naphtha has narrowed to the lowest in almost eight months at $468.67/mt on Wednesday, from as high as $591.67/mt on March 5. Weakness in the paraxylene market was foreseen especially after China’s Hengli Petrochemical postponed the maintenance of its downstream purified terephthalic acid, or PTA, unit to March, from January, in response to prevailing market conditions. China’s Hengli Petrochemical shut its 2.2 million mt/year No.3 PTA unit in Dalian for    15 days of maintenance, starting March 28. In addition, traders said that Hengli will shut its 2.2 million mt/year No. 2 unit in April, after it restarts its No. 3 unit, although this could not be directly confirmed with the company. A further fall in PX demand was attributed to news that Chinese PTA maker Yisheng shut its 3.75 million mt/year No. 2 PTA plant on March 25 for a week-long maintenance. In addition, China’s Huabin Petrochemical shut its 1.4 million mt/year PTA unit in Shaoxing Friday for 3-4 day maintenance for steam pipes, a company source said. Asian PTA was assessed flat day on day at $845/mt CFR China Friday.

RATIONALE:

Asian PX prices were up $6.75/mt day on day at $1,041.67/mt CFR Taiwan/China and $1,022.67/mt FOB Korea Friday. The markers take an average of the H1 May, H2 May and H1 June laycans. The May laycans were assessed at $1,044/mt, at the level of the last trade for May between GS Caltex and Yisheng, above a normalized outstanding Asian-origin May bid by Hengli at $1,045/mt, and below an outstanding May offer from Oman Trading International at $1,047/mt. The H1 June laycan was assessed at $1,037/mt CFR Taiwan/China, below an outstanding June offer from BP Singapore at $1,038/mt, and above a normalized outstanding Asian-origin June bid by Litasco at $1,037/mt. The H1 June laycan was also assessed at the pegged $7/mt backwardation to the May laycans. The aboverationale applies to the following market data codes:  “PHASS05” for FOB Korea and “AAQNE00” for CFR Taiwan/China.

 

The PBF Energy refinery in Paulsboro, N.J., uses toxic chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid. Rather than using “inherently safer” design methods, the industry says, other safety measures are taken to prevent accidents like the one in West, Texas.