Asian Benzene – Rises $6/mt on day; E China’s domestic market rangebound

– FOB Korea activities focused on Apr

– India’s Dec exports fall 1.2% on month

Asian benzene rose $6/mt day on day to $616.33/mt FOB Korea and $630.50/mt CFR China  Friday. At 4:30 pm Singapore time (0830 GMT), ICE April Brent crude futures were up 73 cents/b from the previous day at $67.04/b. In the FOB Korea market, trade activities were seen for April and May loading cargoes, with most of the buying indications concentrated on April loading. Discussions were rangebound in the east China domestic market, and the marker was assessed higher by Yuan 45/mt at Yuan 5,015/mt ex-tank, or $630.54/mt on an import parity basis,  Friday. Downstream styrene was assessed higher by $6.50/mt day on day at $1,028/mt FOB Korea and $1,068/mt CFR China. This brings the styrene-benzene spread to around $438/mt based on the CFR China prices, down $17/mt on the week, and just slightly lower by $4/mt month on month. In related downstream market, Asian caprolactam prices rose $50/mt week on week to $1,700/mt CFR Far East Asia and $1,680/mt CFR Southeast Asia  Friday on restocking needs following the Lunar New Year. In trade statistics news, India’s benzene exports were reported at 141,806 mt in December 2018, 1.2% lower month on month, but higher by 36.6% from the year-ago month, latest data from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry showed.

RATIONALE:

FOB Korea benzene was assessed higher by $6/mt day on day at $616.33/mt FOB Korea  Friday. The marker currently take the average of the third, fourth and fifth half-month laycans, H2 March, H1 April and H2 April. The April laycans were assessed at $620/mt, above an outstanding bid from SKGC Singapore at $619/mt. The H2 March laycan was assessed at $609/mt, based on the pegged March/April spread that was unchanged day on day at minus $11/mt. The CFR China marker was assessed at $630.50/mt  Friday, up $6/mt day on day, tracking the rise in the east China domestic market. The East China marker was assessed at Yuan 5,015/mt, up Yuan 45/mt day on day, equating to $630.54/mt on an import parity basis.

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