Benzene Price in India

Phenol prices on downtrend in India

Phenol prices went down Rs 3/kg to Rs 92-93/kg week on week at Kandla port on high inventory level and slow demand in the domestic market.
Booking level of phenol went down $30/mt to $1230-1240/mt week on week.
Prices expected more soften in coming days on bearish demand in major trading hubs of India.

International Market Updates:

CFR China phenol was assessed down $145/mt on the week at $1,175/mt Friday, above buy indications heard at below $1,000/mt, and at tradeable indications heard at $1,150-1,175/mt CFR China. End-users hailed the price drop as “overdue”, citing earlier price gains as having happened too quickly, and at too large a magnitude. Producers and end-users alike said Friday that prices of phenol is expected to continue falling moving forward, but market expectations differed on the impact of restocking activity for the Lunar New Year. A producer said Friday that CFR China prices would likely rebound closer to the festive season, while end-users said that prices would may stabilize below $1,000/mt CFR China. Despite the plunge in phenol, falls in feedstock benzene since October have left prices at a two-year low earlier this week. Market sources said that the price spread between benzene and phenol were still too high, and with benzene market long, it was likely that phenol prices would fall. Weakness in the downstream bisphenol-A has resulted in lower operating rates at BPA production plants, thereby affecting demand for phenol. Bisphenol-A is an intermediate material in the production of polycarbonate, which was heard at levels of $1,800-1,900/mt CFR China. “The price spread between polycarbonate and phenol is just $600-700/mt,” an end-user said Friday, adding that the narrow price spreads made it difficult for production plants to breakeven. CFR India phenol was assessed down $100/mt on the week at $1,240/mt, where a deal was heard concluded.

Stabilizing Benzene Prices bringing Relief to Suppliers

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Benzene prices noticed stable to higher in the last couple of days which makes the market more stable and other chemicals prices also expected stable to the uptrend in coming days.

Benzene prices assessed around $710/mt CFR India.

Downstream aromatics prices noticed stable in Indian market on a day to day trading.

Toluene prices noticed at Rs 58000/mt at Ex-Kandla, Mix xylene noticed around 62000/mt Ex-Mumbai and styrene prices traded at Rs 87000/mt on Tuesday.

Asian benzene was assessed stable to higher from Monday despite the fall in upstream crude oil. The FOB Korea marker was assessed at $680/mt Tuesday, up$1.67/mt from Monday, while the CFR China marker was assessed flat at$713.50/mt Tuesday.

In the FOB Korea market, strong buying interests were heard for January cargoes while there were more offers heard for H2 December cargoes, however, no deals were heard concluded.

At 4:30 pm Singapore time(0830 GMT), ICE January Brent crude futures were down 48 cents/b (0.709%) from Monday’s settle at $67.21/b, while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract fell 19 cents/b (0.331%) to $57.14/b.

In the East China domestic market, the benzene prices marker was assessed at Yuan 5,863/mt, up Yuan 10/mt from Monday. According to market sources, benzene inventories in China were recorded at 149,000 mt Tuesday, 13,000 mt higher on the week. As compared to the same period last year, inventories increased 3,000 mt.

The SM-benzene spread is flat from Monday at the 17-month low of $344/mt Tuesday, S&P Global CSG data showed. Elsewhere, in the US market, US November DDP spot benzene price was assessed up 4 cents on the day at 213.50 cents/gal DDP, down 34cents on the day, amid increased December activity.

RATIONALE: FOB Korea benzene was assessed up to $1.67/mt from Monday at $680/mt Tuesday. The marker currently takes the average of the third, fourth and fifth half-month laycans, H2 December, H1 January and H2 January.

During the CSG Market on Close assessment process on Tuesday, there were no transparent bids and offers seen.

The H2 December laycan was assessed at $670/mt FOB Korea, below the best offer heard at $671/mt with no bids heard. H1 and H2 January laycans were assessed at $685/mt, above the best bid heard at $684/mt with no offers heard.

The CFR China marker was assessed flat from Monday at $713.50/mt Tuesday, above the buying indication heard at $690/mt. The East China marker was assessed at Yuan 5,863/mt, with its import parity equivalent assessed at $715.65/mt.

China announces 25% tariff on US-origin benzene – 10th August – Daily Chemicals Report

phenol price updates

FOB Korea benzene inched lower by $1.33/mt week on week to $874.67/mt Friday, despite a notable increase in inquiries from buyers in China and Taiwan. The bearishness in the market over the week leading up to Friday was largely due to weakness in upstream crude oil, with ICE October Brent crude futures falling $1.49/b week on week to be assessed at $71.74/b at 0830 GMT Friday.

The Downtrend

The downtrend in global benzene prices also dampened sentiment, with October FOB USG paper down 2 cents/gal week on week at 298 cents/gal Thursday, or $891.02/mt. Benzene CIF ARA was assessed lower by $7/mt over the same period to $862/mt Thursday.

With price spreads between the US and EU against Asia at $16.35/mt and minus $12.67/mt respectively, the arbitrage from Asia to these regions was closed Friday. Despite weak spot demand from US and EU, demand from China was heard strong this week, with trades for September-arrival benzene heard last concluded at $885/mt CFR China.

Weakening Chinese Yuan

Sellers in the market noted that Chinese end-users were keen to receive September cargoes earlier in the month, in a move contrary to the situation in first-half 2018. The pickup in demand from China was a welcome move, as end-users were earlier heard mulling a weakening Chinese yuan currency, amid ongoing exchange
rate volatility as the US-China trade war continues.

The yuan/US dollar exchange rate stood at 6.8395 Friday, up slightly from 6.8322 last Friday. Strength in East China’s domestic prices resulted in a narrowing price spread between domestic cargoes and import cargoes. Prompt cargoes were assessed higher by Yuan 140/mt week on the at Yuan 7,130/mt Friday, or $881.06/mt on an import parity basis, while balance-August cargoes were higher by Yuan 120/mt over the same period at Yuan 7,160/mt ($884.77/mt).

September domestic cargoes rose Yuan 120/mt week on week to Yuan 7,190/mt ($888.48/mt). Import cargoes on a CFR China basis were assessed higher by $9/mt week on week at $892/mt Friday. Over in the Southeast Asia market, a FOB Southeast Asia tender for any September-loading was heard to have been awarded at a discount of $16-$19/mt to the benchmark FOB Korea marker.

China announces 25% tariff on US-origin benzene

However, with demand from China improving, sellers in the Southeast Asian region were heard expecting sell tenders to be awarded at a smaller discount to FOB Korea moving forward. Amid an escalation of the US-China trade war, a notice by China’s Ministry of Commerce released late Wednesday announced a 25% tariff, effective August 23, on US-origin benzene heading toward China.

Included in the list was phenol and acetone, downstream products of benzene. However, the tariff was expected to have little effect on the supply of benzene to China, as the country imports little from the US. In 2017, China imported just 24,411 mt of benzene from the US, which accounted for 0.98% of total imports in 2017.