Asian Toluene: Prices firm despite falling China demand on turnarounds

Chemical Industry

– China demand lackluster

– SEA blenders’ demand keeps prices firm

Toluene was assessed unchanged day on day at $694/mt FOB Korea and also unchanged at $714/mt CFR China on Thursday. Market sources said that although there was very low demand from Chinese buyers, especially the solvent makers, Southeast Asian countries that include Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore were showing demand, which was keeping prices steady. “All blenders [especially South Asian ones] try to blend [toluene] for RON boosting,” an Asian trader said. With blending demand from Asian countries on the ascent, prices were keeping firm, sources said, and lack of Chinese demand was not playing a big role in the market. The traded or tradable level on a CFR SEA basis was around $730s/mt, the trader said. There were no offers or bids on a USD basis heard in the market on Thursday, and sources said that the market was quiet. In China, domestically, an aniline plant was shut down for a turnaround and sources said that there was an expectation that solvents manufacturing plants would be shut down, also for maintenance, primarily to improve safety measures following the explosion in a Chinese chemicals facility recently. No one was sure how many plants were being shut down within China for turnarounds, a source said, but demand from downstream players was weak on Thursday and prices had been falling even during the day. Prices were around Yuan 5,420-5,450/mt ex tank East China for prompt delivery,on Tuesday, he added, but on Thursday, prices had softened to Yuan 5,370-5,380/mt ex tank East China.

RATIONALE:

Toluene was assessed unchanged day on day at $694/mt FOB Korea and also unchanged at $714/mt CFR China on Thursday. The markers take the average of the third and fourth half-month laycans, currently H1 May and H2 May. No bids or offers were registered during the S&P Global  Market on Close assessment process. No other bids or offers were heard on Thursday. The East China domestic prompt price dipped day on day by Yuan 35/mt to Yuan 5,380/mt on Thursday, with lower tradable indications heard around Yuan 5,380/mt. No bids or offers were heard on a CFR China basis and the marker was assessed unchanged on day at $714/mt.

 

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