Benzene Price in India

Asian Benzene – Chemical Industry flips into backwardation amid firm demand for June

Chemical Industry

Chemical Industry news of Asian Benzene

– June/July at backwardation of plus $2/mt

– Limited price movement in China amid trade talks

The Asian benzene Chemical Industry flipped into backwardation Thursday, as persistent demand from Taiwan for June-arrival material supported prices. A second buy tender was seen for June CFR Taiwan benzene on Thursday, after a previous tender for 6,000 mt of benzene delivered in June had closed late April, at a low single-digit premium to the Weekly Mean of  FOB Korea benchmark. Supply tightness in the Taiwan Chemical Industry comes amid concerns that the shutdown of an aromatics unit in North Asia would be extended until August. This put spot demand for June-loading FOB Korea benzene higher than that of July-loading material, resulting in a backwardation between June and July. The June/July spread was assessed at plus $2/mt Thursday, up from minus $3/mt Thursday. However, Chemical Industry sentiment was mixed, with a source commenting that the additional volume required from Taiwan did not justify the flip in structure. Meanwhile, in the domestic East China Chemical Industry, prices were assessed stable to slightly lower on the day, with prompt and balance May domestic benzene assessed unchanged from Thursday at Yuan 4,470/mt and Yuan 4,510/mt, respectively. June material was assessed down Yuan 5/mt over the same period at Yuan 4,565/mt. Likewise, CFR China benzene was assessed unchanged on the day at $612/mt. The limited price movement in China Chemical Industry was attributed to a wait-and-see approach, as clearer price direction was expected after a conclusion to the US-China trade talks later this week.

RATIONALE:

FOB Korea benzene was assessed up $2.33/mt on the day at $622.33/mt Thursday. The marker takes the average of the third, fourth and fifth half-month laycans, H1 June, H2 June, and H1 July. During the  Chemical Industry on Close assessment process Thursday, no fully transparent bids and offers were seen. The H1 June and H2 June laycans were assessed at $623/mt FOB Korea, above a bid last seen at $622/mt FOB Korea. The H1 July laycan was assessed at $621/mt FOB Korea, below an offer last seen at $625/mt FOB Korea (Chemical Industry), with the June/July spread assessed at plus $2/mt, above a bid last seen at plus $1/mt FOB Korea. The CFR China marker was assessed unchanged on the day at the pegged level of $612/mt. The East China Chemical Industry was assessed down Yuan 2/mt on the day at Yuan 4,515/mt, or $579.51/mt on an import parity basis.

 

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

Styrene Chemical Industry

Chemical Industry

Crude, benzene and ethylene fall on the week „„

Japan’s SM exports 51,024 mt March, up 12.6% MOM

Asian styrene monomer increased $10/mt on the week to $1,078/mt CFR China and $1,038/mt FOB Korea Friday amid muted trading throughout the week due to the Labour Day holiday. Day-on-day, prices were stable from Friday. Upstream markets, however, posted weekon- week losses, where the July ICE Brent crude futures were down $4.02/b to $70.19/b Friday, benzene FOB Korea tumbled $11.67/mt to $619.33/mt and ethylene CFR Fareast Asia fell $20/mt to a three month low of $930/mt Friday. Sentiments in the downstream markets were not any better, where market participants have turned to become more pessimistic, sources said earlier. Trading was slow amid a lack of buying interest with minimal pre-holiday restocking. Sources further noted that while activity would improve next week, high inventory is still an issue given the slower-than-expected drawdown so far. Styrene inventory in East China declined 10,200 mt week on week to 197,800 mt, according to market sources. Consumption exceeded arrivals at 20,200 mt and 10,000 mt, respectively. In statistics news, Japan’s styrene monomer exports in March showed an increase of 12.6% on the month to 51,024 mt, according to the latest data from Japan Customs Department. Year-on-year, however, imports have declined 2.3%. Weekly styrene was assessed up $10/mt week on week at $1,069/mt CFR Southeast Asia and $1,072/mt CFR India Friday.

Rational

Asian SM was assessed flat day on day at $1,078/mt CFR China and $1,038/mt FOB Korea Friday. The markers currently take the average of the H1 and H2 June laycans. There were no transparent bids or offers during the Market on Close assessment process on Friday. H1 and H2 June were assessed at the pegged level of $1,078/ mt. In the east China domestic market, the June marker was assessed flat day on day at Yuan 8,290/mt ex-tank, equating to $1,068.93/mt on an import parity basis. The FOB Korea marker was assessed at $1,038/ mt, based on the pegged $40/mt spread to CFR China, while the CFR Taiwan marker was assessed at $1,068/mt, based on the pegged $10/ mt spread to CFR China.

 

Orthoxylene Chemical Industry

Chemical Industry

CFR China, CFR SEA stable, FOB Korea down $10/mt

Sinopec settles April OX CP at Yuan 6,719/mt

Chemical Industry news – Asia orthoxylene was assessed stable to lower Friday. CFR China and CFR Southeast Asia was assessed unchanged from last Friday at $920/mt and $1,020/mt respectively, while FOB Korea was assessed down $10/mt over the same period at $1,010/mt. The fall in FOB Korea OX comes amid weakness in the isomer-mixed xylenes Chemical Industry, which is a feedstock for OX. FOB Korea isomer-MX was assessed down $13/ mt on the day at $723/mt Friday. State-owned China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, settled its April orthoxylene contract price at Yuan 6,719/mt on an ex-tank basis, equating to about $867.41/mt on an import-parity basis, sources close to the matter said Friday. This was down Yuan 81/mt from its March settlement of Yuan 6,800/ mt. With domestic East China Chemical Industry  OX prices significantly lower than that of import OX, demand for CFR China OX continued to be heard lackluster. The CFR China-domestic East China import parity spread for OX stood at $69.24/mt Friday. In other news, China’s Fuhaichuang Petroleum and Petrochemical, formerly known as Dragon Aromatics, will delay the planned two-week turnaround at its No. 1 aromatics unit in Gulei, a source close to the company said Friday. The No. 1 aromatics unit was originally slated to go on a turnaround on May 11, but this has been delayed to June, with the exact timeline still being decided, he added. The plant operates two aromatics lines, each of which has a nameplate capacity of 200,000 mt/year of orthoxylene. In downstream Chemical Industry, South Korea’s Aekyung Petrochemical plans to shut its 210,000 mt/ year phthalic anhydride plant in Ulsan on June 3, about four weeks later than the earlier target date of May 7, for a month of scheduled maintenance, a company source said. The delay comes amid supply tightness in the PA Chemical Industry, the source said.

Rationale

Asian OX was stable to lower from last Friday, assessed at $1,010/ mt FOB Korea, $920/mt CFR China and $1,020/mt CFR Southeast Asian Chemical Industry Friday. CFR China was assessed flat at the peg of $920/mt, considering the domestic price parity level in East China in the absence of spot trades at around $850-$860/mt CFR, and above a buy indication heard at $910/mt CFR. FOB Korea was assessed down $10/mt from last Friday at $1,010/mt, based on tradable indications heard at $1,020- $1,050/mt FOB, and also tracking the fall in feedstock FOB Korea isomer-grade mixed xylene Chemical Industry, which fell $13/mt day on day to $723/mt Friday. Southeast Asia was assessed at $1,020/mt, unchanged from last Friday, based on a tradable indication heard at $950-$1,050/mt CFR SE Asia, and above buying indications heard at $950/mt (Chemical Industry).

 

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

Toluene Chemical Industry was assessed higher by $4/mt, day on day

Chemical Industry

– China blending demand for MTBE higher

– China toluene downstream operation rates low

Toluene Chemical Industry was assessed higher by $4/mt, the day on day, at $714/mt FOB Korea, while the CFR China marker remained unchanged on Tuesday at $723/mt. Crude oil climbed firmly on Tuesday, with ICE Brent futures for June up by $2.15/b at $73.91/b, at the Singapore close at 4:30 pm local time. This drove strength in toluene on a FOB Korea basis, although there were no firm offers heard in the Chemical Industry on Tuesday. Low June bids for FOB Korea were heard in the $700-702/mt FOB Korea region. An Asian trader said that in Southeast Asia, blending demand was still robust with cargo sold for both May and June and blending margins were looking healthy. “Toluene being cheaper bits of help,” said the trader. A May selling idea for toluene was heard at $745/mt CFR Vietnam. Demand from within China was still not very healthy, said sources, although there were some mixed opinions, with some traders saying that there was gasoline blending demand coming from China, others strongly refuted this. Domestically, within China, toluene would not go into the blending pool right now, one trader said, since domestic China MTBE margins work out better than toluene Chemical Industry. Refineries within China would use MTBE due to better margins and turn towards toluene as a blendstock only once the MTBE blending limit is reached. Chinese domestic demand for gasoline is not as strong as gasoline demand in Southeast Asia right now, the trader added (Chemical Industry). Demand from Chinese downstream solvent manufacturers is currently quite low, said another source, due to low operation rates. Operation rates have been cut by downstream producers primarily because the Chinese government is conducting safety checks at various facilities, he added, and this is affecting overall demand from that sector. Although there was no outside confirmation, the source said that he expected demand from the Chinese downstream producers to remain low until September (Chemical Industry).

RATIONALE:

Toluene was assessed higher by $4/mt, the day on day, at $714/mt FOB Korea and unchanged at $723/mt CFR China on Tuesday. The markers take the average of the third and fourth half-month laycans, currently H2 May and H1 June. No bids or offers were registered during the Chemical Industry on Close assessment process. The CFR China marker was assessed above the highest June bid on Tuesday, heard at $722/mt CFR China. The East China domestic prompt price was lower day on day by Yuan 10/mt at Yuan 5,360/mt on Tuesday, with bid-offer heard between Yuan 5,350 and 5,380/mt. The FOB Korea Chemical Industry was assessed higher due to stronger crude oil prices and no disproving information.

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

Asian PX: Plunges $36.08/mt on day as buyers stay on the sidelines

Chemical Industry

– No trades as buyers stay away

– Jun/Jul structure widens to $7/mt on day

Asian PX prices were assessed down $36.08/mt day on day at $1,006.42/mt CFR Taiwan/China and $987.42/mt FOB Korea Thursday, as July offers fell, as buyers stayed on the sidelines amid expectations of an oversupplied market ahead. “There was no support at all, with major buyers staying away to observe the market, causing sellers to panic sell,” said a trader. After the declaration of May cargoes on Thursday, traders holding onto excess volumes realized that Asian PX spot supply was a lot longer than previously expected, causing participants to panic sell, a source said. Also, with an expectation of oversupply in the Asian June market due to the impending commercialization of PX cargoes from Hengli Dalian, traders were mostly reluctant to commit to buying on a fixed priced basis, and instead were bidding on a floating formula basis, a source said. “It seems that the June shorts were mostly for Asian origin material, coming from mostly just two major buyers, Hengli and Taiwan’s Formosa Chemicals and Fibre Corp., who have both now filled their shorts, sending the market into a free-fall,” said another trader. “Everyone was holding May cargoes waiting till the last minute, only to realize there were no buyers in the market, and so had to roll over their short positions into June.” In addition, there were talks that a lack of tank space at Ningbo and Dalian had forced some traders to divert their May cargoes to alternative ports such as Jiangyin and Zhuhai. Traders expect the situation to persist into the next month. During the  Market on Close assessment process Thursday, an outstanding June offer from Oman Trading International at $1,030/mt remained at the end, with no market participants expressing any interest, while an outstanding July offer from Yisheng at $1,002/mt also failed to attract buying interest. The June/July backwardation was assessed at $7/mt Thursday, below an outstanding June/July timespread offer from Yisheng at $8/mt, while earlier in the day, June/July timespread bids were seen at $6/mt. “The collapse in July pricing will entice more bids from traders to swap July for June, causing the June/July backwardation to widen further in the coming week,” said a trader.

RATIONALE:

Asian PX prices were assessed down $36.08/mt day on day at $1,006.42/mt CFR Taiwan/China and $987.42/mt FOB Korea Thursday. The markers take an average of the H1 and H2 June, and H2 July laycans. The June laycans were assessed at $1,008.75/mt, below an outstanding offer from Oman Trading International at $1,030/mt. The H1 July laycan was assessed at $1,001.75/mt, below an outstanding July offer from Yisheng at $1,002/mt, and at a $7/mt backwardation to the June laycans, below an outstanding June/July timespread offer from Yisheng at $8/mt. The above rationale applies to the following market data codes: “PHASS05” for FOB Korea and “AAQNE00” for CFR Taiwan/China.

 

NWE Benzene – Tight front availability pushes pricing upwards

Imported Data

– April up $34/mt

– Imports to keep market in backwardation

The European benzene market surged Thursday following news of trades for both May and April. A deal was heard done Thursday at $725/mt for full-May. The front end of the month retained a $20/mt premium, a trader said, showing some tightness in the front of the market that could be linked to possible production issues — though none were visible on the day. A trade for April was also done at $765/mt on Thursday, sources said. This likely represented the last of the business for the front month, a trader said, and while material remained tight enough in the prompt end of May for prices to remain at a premium, the market should begin to shift towards full-May value. This meant the backwardated market structure was unlikely to change, and prices should fall due to a wide premium over Asian benzene offering further opportunity for imports. More availability will be seen in mid-May, a trader said, as some import shipments would be due to arrive. The benzene market has been buoyed by bullish upstream activity in the energy markets, but the current uptick was more a result of a shift in supply and demand dynamics, a trader said. The 16:30 London assessment for ICE Brent Crude was up 56 cents at $71.75/b.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global  assessed benzene for delivery 5-30 days forward at $750.50/mt CIF ARA Thursday, up $29/mt from Thursday. April was assessed up $34 at $765/mt, based on a trade done Thursday at $765/mt, with no disproving indications seen Thursday. May was assessed at $735/mt, up $20/mt based on a curve. 1H May was assessed at $745/mt, based on an indication of a $20/mt premium to full May. 2H May was assessed at $725/mt, based on a trade at this level Thursday. June was assessed at $719/mt, up in line with May. July was assessed at $718/mt, $1/mt below June. August was assessed flat to July. FOB was assessed at $750.50/mt, flat to CIF.

 

NWE Benzene – Trading thin as Easter approaches

Chemical Industry

– No bids or offers heard

– Crude bounces 20 cents/b

There were no reports of trading in the European benzene market on Wednesday. The  5-30 days forward assessment slipped $1 to $721.50/mt CIF ARA, based on the existing backwardation between April and May. Benzene trading has quietened down this week as public holidays around Europe approach at the end of the week for Easter celebrations. Bid and offer ranges heard at the tail end of last week were heavily bound to the upstream crude oil market, before disappearing on Wednesday. Crude prices slipped over the weekend, but bounced on Wednesday. The 16:30 assessment of ICE Brent crude was up 20 cents at $71.19/b. Margins for benzene against naphtha continued to rise on Wednesday, with the spread widening to $167.50/mt. The spread has gradually widened since the beginning of April, when the spread was $141.50/mt. Asian benzene was down $9.66/mt on the day to $628.67/mt for the FOB Korea marker.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global  assessed benzene for delivery 5-30 days forward at $721.50/mt CIF ARA Wednesday, down $1 from Wednesday due to a backwardated market. April was assessed stable at $731/mt with no disproving indications. May was assessed stable at $715/mt, based on a curve. First-half May was assessed stable at $716/mt. H2 May was assessed stable at $714/mt, both with no disproving indications. June was assessed at $699/mt, stable with no disproving indications. July was assessed at $698/mt, $1 under June. August was assessed flat to July. FOB was assessed at $721.50/mt, flat to CIF.

 

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

Chemical Industry Isomer – MX

Chemical Industry

China MX inventory builds again

FCFC No. 3 PX plant remains shut

Asian isomer-grade mixed xylene rose $8/mt and $5/mt week on week to be assessed at $723/mt FOB Korea and $738/mt CFR Taiwan, respectively, Friday, amid rising prices in several aromatics Chemical Industry as well as naphtha. Day on day, the FOB Korea marker rose $4/mt and CFR Taiwan increased $2/mt. Feedstock naphtha was up $24.50/mt week on week to be assessed at $581.87/mt CFR Japan Friday. Also, toluene rose by $16/mt week on week to be assessed at $703/mt FOB Korea. Asian paraxylene prices were assessed up $3.67/mt day on day at $1,068/mt CFR Taiwan/China and $1,049/mt FOB Korea Friday. PX prices were rising this week following an explosion and subsequent fire at Taiwan’s Formosa Chemicals and Fibre Corp.’s No. 3 aromatics plant at Mailiao on April 7. The company is not likely to sell isomer-MX in the spot Chemical Industry despite the shutdown of its No. 3 plant, sources close to the matter said. The No. 3 plant can produce 900,000 mt/year of PX, 640,000 mt/year of benzene and 240,000 mt/year of orthoxylene. Isomer-MX is the feedstock for PX and OX and FCFC is a major buyer, buying close to 900,000 mt/year, sources estimate. A trade source said MX cargoes for arrival in Taiwan in first-half May were being delayed to second-half May as participants expected the shutdown of the aromatics plant and No. 3 reformer to last one-two months. This could not be confirmed with FCFC. In other news, Taiwan’s CPC awarded three 5,000-mt cargoes of isomer-MX for May loading via tender this week, sources said. One cargo was awarded to a Chinabased trading company and two to a Western trading company, they said. The price was at parity or a single-digit discount to the average of Platts FOB Korea assessments. Meanwhile, the inventory level of MX in East China Chemical Industry jumped week on week by 40% to around 126,000 mt, comprising of mainly isomer-grade MX.

Rationale

Isomer-MX was assessed up $4/mt day on day at $723/mt FOB Korea and up $2/mt at $738/mt CFR Taiwan Friday. The markers take the average of the third and fourth half-month laycans, currently first-half May and second-half May. No bids or offers were registered during the S&P Global Platts Chemical Industry on Close assessment process. During the Platts MOC process, a bid for a May-loading cargo was raised to $722/mt FOB Korea, against no offers. The May laycans were assessed above the bid at $723/mt FOB Korea. The CFR Taiwan marker was assessed higher by $2/mt tracking the FOB Korea price rise. The above rationale applies to the following Chemical Industry data codes: PHAUV00 for FOB Korea and PHAUT00 for CFR Taiwan.

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

NWE Styrene – Prompt, forward months at parity in quiet trading

Chemical Industry

– Taiwan FCFC No. 3 aromatics plant shut by fire

– Chinese styrene inventory falls to 335,000 mt

European styrene spot prices rose from Tuesday as prompt and forward prices were heard at parity. S&P Global Tuesday assessed styrene for loading 5-30 days forward at $1,076/mt FOB ARA Tuesday, up $1. Participants described the chemical industrial market as quiet. Sources said they were closely monitoring the Asian market for news from the Taiwanese Formosa Chemicals and Fibre Corp. plant. An explosion and a subsequent fire broke out at FCFC’s No. 3 aromatics plant in Mailiao on Sunday. The plant has been shut since the explosion. The No. 3 plant has the capacity to produce 900,000 mt a year of paraxylene, 640,000 mt/year of benzene and 240,000 mt/year of orthoxylene. According to chemical industrial market sources, there is minimal impact on styrene. However a European producer expected there to be an impact on the styrene chemical industry as a result of a loss in benzene production. “Benzene will impact on styrene and there will always be speculation,” the producer said. Styrene inventory in east China fell 15,000 mt on the week to 355,000 mt Tuesday. Consumption of 25,000 mt exceeded arrivals of 10,000 mt, according to chemical industrial market sources.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global Tuesday assessed styrene for loading 5-30 days forward at $1,076/mt FOB ARA Tuesday, up $1 on the day. April was assessed at $1,076/mt, stable on the day, within the bid-offer range of $1,075-$1,085/mt. May was assessed at $1,076/mt, up $5 on the day, $1 above the outstanding bid at $1,075/mt and below the outstanding offer at $1,085/mt. This put April and May at parity.

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

The European acetic acid market was stable week on week in thin trading.

Chemical Industry

– VAM prices move up marginally

– AA Asia export price unchanged

AA: The European acetic acid market was stable week on week in thin trading. AA was assessed at Eur700/mt FD NWE on Friday. The vast majority of market participants put AA value around Eur700/mt, with lower end of the range indicated at mid to high Eur600s/mt by a trader. “Demand is fine and nobody seems to be forced to sell material,” a trader said. “Prices are expected to pick up again by mid of April,” the trader added. However, a feeling that logistical issues in Houston, on the back of the fire in ITC Terminal in Deer Park last week, might affect AA prices globally, a producer said. AA was also unchanged in Asia this week, despite lower methanol prices, on a few turnarounds in Northeast Asia. The CFR Far East Asia price was at $450/mt Friday and AA China price was assessed also stable at $400/mt.

VAM: European vinyl acetate monomer market was heard higher on the week with prices assessed at Eur885/mt Friday, up Eur20 from a week earlier. “Prices picking up a bit, like Eur20-Eur30, not as much as we were expecting,” a trader said. While supply is sufficient the expected seasonal increase in        prices drove values higher according to sources. “Customers are whiling to pay a bit more as they expect prices to pick up,” a second trader said. VAM was also heard steady to higher in Asia this week on relatively tighter supply from Southeast Asia and China. However, CFR China was assessed stable on the     week at $920/mt Friday.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global Platts assessed acetic acid spot truck prices at Eur700/mt FD NWE on Friday, unchanged on the week. The product was heard pegged at around that level by market participants. Acetic acid FOB NWE was assessed at $780/mt, also stable and in line with the FD price. Vinyl acetate monomer spot trucks were assessed up Eur20 on the week at Eur885/mt FD NWE Friday and in line with source indications in a Eur845-Eur895/mt range. FOB NWE VAM was also assessed up $22 at $987/mt, in line with the FD price movement.