– Ignores gains in upstream crude
– Thailand’s benzene exports surges 25.9% on year
FOB Korea benzene slipped $5/mt on the day to $645/mt Friday despite gains in upstream June ICE Brent crude futures, which rose $1.08/b on the day to $75.28/b Friday. Over in the CFR China market, no June discussions were reported Friday, but H2 May was offered at $640/mt CFR China. Meanwhile, supply is expected to grow in the domestic market given that Hengli Petrochemical has achieved on-specification production of benzene, with sales volumes from the plant likely to gradually increase. Hengli Petrochemical operates two lines, each with a nameplate capacity of 450,000 mt/year of benzene. Market sources said that operating rates of the first line was approximately 70%, while the second line was not yet operational. In other news, according to market sources, China imported 307,000 mt of benzene in March, with the average import price at $603.90/mt CFR China. In trade statistics news, Thailand’s benzene exports surged 25.9% year on year, or 3.9% on the month, to 55,705 mt in March, the latest customs data showed.
FOB Korea benzene was assessed down $5/mt on the day at $645/mt Friday. The marker takes the average of the third, fourth and fifth half-month laycans, H2 May, H1 June, and H2 June. During the Market on Close assessment process Friday, there were no transparent bids and offers reported. The H2 May laycan was assessed at $643/mt FOB Korea, between a bid and offer reported at $640/mt and $644/mt FOB Korea, respectively. The H1 and H2 June laycans were assessed at $646/mt FOB Korea, below an offer reported at $647/mt FOB Korea. CFR China was assessed at the pegged level of $634/mt, tracking losses in FOB Korea. The East China marker was assessed up Yuan 1/mt on the day at Yuan 4,523/mt, or $583.07/mt on an import parity basis.