– Taiwan’s FCFC No.3 aromatics unit shut due to fire
– June trades at $1,049/mt CFR Taiwan/China
Asian PX prices were assessed up $13.67/mt day on day at $1,052/mt CFR Taiwan/China and $1,033/mt FOB Korea Tuesday, tracking bullish downstream Chinese purified terephthalic acid futures higher. The most actively traded May PTA futures on the Chinese Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange rose Yuan 134/mt, or 2.08%, day on day to Yuan 6,576/mt at close of afternoon trading Tuesday. Active buying interests were seen throughout Tuesday morning, after an explosion and subsequent fire broke out at Taiwan’s Formosa Chemicals and Fibre Corp.’s No. 3 aromatics plant at Mailiao on Sunday, a company spokesman told S&P Global Tuesday Tuesday. “The fire was due to an explosion at the liquefied petroleum gas pipeline that feeds LPG to the isobutene fractionation tower,” the spokesman said. The plant has been shut following the explosion on Sunday. The No. 3 plant has the capacity to produce 900,000 mt/year of paraxylene, 640,000 mt/year of benzene and 240,000 mt/year of orthoxylene, and is not scheduled for maintenance shutdown in 2019. The company has plans to shut its No. 1 aromatics plant at the same location from the middle of April to the end of May for annual maintenance, Tuesday reported earlier. The company also plans to shut its No. 2 aromatics plant at the same location for two to three weeks from the middle of August, which has the capacity to produce 287,000 mt/year of paraxylene, 213,000 mt/year of benzene and 80,000 mt/year of OX. Following news of the shutdown of FCFC’s No.3, market discussions for PX soared early Tuesday in Asia, with bids for May delivery CFR Taiwan/China cargoes seen at $1,070/mt, against offers at $1,120/mt CFR. The incident will affect supply of aromatics in the Taiwanese market, sources said Tuesday. Buyers of aromatic products from the unit were heard affected, but the total volume of affected material could not be ascertained. Discussions fell lower in afternoon trading after news emerged that FCFC No.3 could resume operations at the end of the week, although this could not be immediately confirmed with the company. In the Tuesday Market on Close assessment process Tuesday, two trades were seen for June delivery, both at $1,049/mt CFR Taiwan/China, while an outstanding May bid by GS Caltex was left standing at $1,057/mt CFR Taiwan/China at close of MOC, with no traders expressing further interest. The May/June backwardation was assessed at $9/mt Tuesday, up $2/mt on the day.
Asian PX prices were assessed up $13.67/mt day on day at $1,052/mt CFR Taiwan/China and $1,033/mt FOB Korea Tuesday. The markers take an average of the H2 May and H1 and H2 June laycans. The H2 May laycan was assessed at $1,058/mt, above an outstanding open origin May bid from GS Caltex at $1,057/mt. The June laycans were assessed at $1,049/mt CFR Taiwan/China, at the level of the last June trade between Litasco and Yisheng, and above an outstanding Asian origin June bid by GS Caltex at $1,050/mt, which was normalized due to a restriction in origin. The June laycans were also assessed at a $9/mt backwardation to the H2 May laycan. The above rationale applies to the following market data codes: “PHASS05” for FOB Korea and “AAQNE00” for CFR Taiwan/China.