Benzene Price in India

NWE Benzene – Prices rise, mirroring gains in crude

– 5-30 day price up $2/mt on the day

– Quiet market at the beginning of the week

S&P Global Platts assessed European benzene for delivery 5-30 days forward at $664/mt Monday, $2/mt higher on the day. Market activity remained subdued Monday, with one source saying that he did not “see anything going on at all.” “No deals, all very slow,” the source added. Fundamentals on the benzene market remained unchanged, with a second source saying that the shutdown of Dow’s Boehlen plant continued to support benzene prices. Additionally, the second source said that the strikes taking place at Galp’s Sines and Porto plants until the end of the month may also affect the benzene market over the next weeks by tightening supply, although it is “too early” to see an impact on the market already. Upstream, crude oil prices rose to $67.33/b at 1630 GMT Monday from $66.80/b Friday. Downstream, in the European styrene market spot prices shifted higher Monday amid increasing buy interest for prompt and forwards cargoes. S&P Global Platts assessed styrene for loading 5-30 days forward at $1,117.50/mt FOB ARA Monday, up $17.50/mt on the day. Prices rose as market participants sought to secure volumes ahead of plant maintenances in the second quarter. Trading activity shifted to prompt cargoes as a deal was heard at $1,110/mt for March delivery.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global Platts assessed benzene for delivery 5-30 days forward at $667/mt CIF ARA Monday, up $2/mt from Friday’s assessment. March was assessed down $1/mt on the day at $669/mt, below an outstanding offer of $670/mt on Friday close and within the most competitive bid-offer range of $665-$685/mt Monday. April was assessed up $5/mt on the day at $666/mt, within the most competitive bid-offer range of $665-$670/mt. May was assessed at $664/mt, up $5/mt on the day, based on a stable backwardation of $2/mt between April and May and within the most competitive bid-offer range of $655-$675/mt. June was up $5/mt on the day at $659/mt, based on a stable May-June backwardation of $5/mt and within the most competitive bid-offer range of $645-$670/mt. July was assessed flat to June. FOB was assessed at $667/mt, flat to CIF.

Asian PX: Rises $3.33/mt tracking uptick in PTA futures

– Shrugs off declines upstream

– Downstream PTA remains bulllish

Asian paraxylene rose $3.33/mt from last Tuesday to be assessed at $1,124.25/mt CFR Taiwan/China Tuesday on the back of firm purified terephthalic acid futures. PTA futures for May rose Yuan 22/mt over the same period to Yuan 6,612/mt on China’s Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange. PX prices moved in the opposite direction to upstream markets Tuesday, with crude oil futures lower on the day and naphtha shedding $9.88/mt to $534.63/mt CFR Japan. In related news, South Korea’s Hyundai Cosmo Petrochemical, a 50:50 joint venture between Hyundai Oilbank and Japan’s Cosmo Oil, has confirmed plans to shut its No. 2 aromatics plant at Daesan for 20-30 days’ maintenance in May, a source close to the company said Tuesday. The plant can produce 130,000 mt/year of benzene and 800,000 mt/year of PX. Hyundai Chemical will shut its 1 million mt/year condensate-based mixed xylenes plant at the same location for 30-35 days of maintenance over H2 April-May, the company source confirmed. This coincides with the turnaround at Hyundai Cosmo Petrochemical’s No. 2 aromatics plant, which receives feedstock isomer-MX from Hyundai Chemical. In downstream markets, South Korea’s Hanwha General Chemical plans to shut its 700,000 mt/year PTA plant at Daesan at the end of March for a 3-4 weeks’ planned maintenance, a company source said Tuesday. The company has two other PTA units at Ulsan with a capacities of 400,000 mt/year and 450,000 mt/year. Market sentiment remains bullish in the Asian PTA market amid firmness in PX, with the PTA CFR China marker assessed flat from last Tuesday at $860/mt Tuesday.

RATIONALE:

Asian PX rose $3.33/mt from Tuesday to be assessed at $1,124.25/mt CFR Taiwan/China and $1,105.25/mt FOB Korea Tuesday. The markers take an average of the H2 April and H1 and H2 May laycans. The H2 April laycan was assessed at $1,122.75/mt CFR Taiwan/China, below an outstanding offer from Oman Trading International at $1,123/mt. The May laycans were assessed at $1,125/mt, below an outstanding May offer from Yisheng at $1,125.50/mt, and reflecting the level of a trade for Asian origin cargo for May between Litasco and BPSG. Value was deemed proven based on the last offer at $1,125.50/mt and the last deal at $1,125/mt. The above rationale applies to the following market data codes: PHASS05 for FOB Korea and AAQNE00 for CFR Taiwan/China.

NWE Benzene – Market silence continues

– No new bid-offer ranges heard

– Some talk of transactions heard

A quiet week continued for European benzene on  Friday, with pricing for February and March unchanged from  Friday. The 5-30 day forward delivery assessment rose 50 cents to $615/mt, based on the existing contango between the two months. Activity in the benzene market has been minimal this week, mirroring a lack of volatility upstream for ICE crude Brent, and a lack of activity downstream in the styrene market. Steam cracker turnarounds are due to begin in the second quarter, suggesting benzene prices could recover as less new material hits the market. But this is balanced against the potential impact of turnarounds by styrene producers in Europe. A trader said  Friday that trading activity had occurred  Friday at $640/mt, but did not name the month. This was also heard after the 16:30 close of the  Market on Close assessment process. The talk comes ahead of the settlement window for the March European contract price for benzene, set to begin Friday.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global  assessed benzene for delivery 5-30 days forward at $615/mt CIF ARA  Friday, up 50 cents from  Friday. February was assessed stable at $607/mt, with no disproving indications. March was assessed stable at $616/mt, also with no disproving indications. April was assessed at $621/mt, with no disproving indications. May was assessed stable at $631/mt, with no disproving indications. June was assessed flat to May. FOB was assessed at $615/mt, flat to CIF.

 

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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.

Asian PX: CFR Taiwan/China gain $7.42/mt amid a rollover in backwardation

– April trades twice at $1,115/mt CFR

– April/May backwardation assessed at $4.75/mt

Asian paraxylene prices rose $7.42/mt from last Tuesday to be assessed at $1,113.42/mt CFR Taiwan/China, and up $7.75/mt at $1,094.42/mt FOB Korea Tuesday, amid a rollover of laycans in backwardation. Activity in the S&P Global   Market on Close assessment process has shifted firmly to April-delivery cargoes following March declaration, with two April cargoes traded in the MOC process Tuesday at $1,115/mt CFR Taiwan/China for both deals. Firm demand for April cargoes had maintained a backwardated structure between April and May laycans, with the April/May backwardation assessed at $4.75/mt at the close of Asian trade Tuesday. No trades were seen for May as sellers kept offers firm, while buyers were tentative in matching higher offers in the market, wary of increased Asian spot supply next month originating from Southeast Asia, with both Thailand’s PTTGC and Indonesia’s TPPI offering additional spot PX for March loading.

RATIONALE:

Asian PX prices rose $7.42/mt from Tuesday, assessed at $1,113.42/mt CFR Taiwan/China and up $7.75/mt at $1,094.42/mt FOB Korea Tuesday, amid a rollover of laycans. The markers take an average of the H1 and H2 April and H1 May laycans. The April laycans were assessed at $1,115/mt CFR Taiwan/China, below an outstanding April offer from Oman Trading International at $1,119/mt, and considering the level of the last April trade between GS Caltex and Mercuria. The H1 May laycan was assessed at $1,110.25/mt, above an outstanding May bid from GS Caltex at $1,110/mt, and below an outstanding offer from BPSG at $1,115/mt. The H1 May laycan was also assessed at a $4.75/mt backwardation to the April laycans, considering an outstanding Apr/May Asian-origin timespread bid from Mercuria at $5.50/mt. The above rationale applies to the following market data codes: “”PHASS05″” for FOB Korea and “”AAQNE00″” for CFR Taiwan/China.

Asian Styrene: Rises $11.50/mt on stronger energy complex

– East China domestic prices fall

– Feedstock benzene, ethylene higher

Asian styrene monomer rose $11.50/mt from Tuesday to $1,062.50/mt CFR China and $1,022.50/mt FOB Korea Tuesday, tracking the rise in upstream crude oil futures, as well as higher feedstock benzene and ethylene prices. The spread between CFR China prices and import parity levels in the east China market has widened, in part reflecting diverging fundamentals between China and the rest of Asia, market sources said. While China is facing a continuous stock build, turnaround season in other Asian countries have tightened supply. Bids in the CFR China market were heard at $1,060-$1,065/mt for April cargoes while offers were heard at $1,070/mt for March cargoes. No deals were heard concluded. In the east China domestic market, the March marker was assessed lower by Yuan 30/mt from Tuesday at Yuan 8,330/mt ex-tank, with its import parity at $1,041/mt Tuesday. At 4:30 pm Singapore time (0830 GMT), ICE April Brent crude futures were at $66.78/b, up $1.95/b from Tuesday. In the feedstock markets, benzene rose $2.50/mt from Tuesday to $614.50/mt CFR China, while ethylene increased by $5/mt to $1,200/mt CFR Northeast Asia Tuesday.

RATIONALE:

Asian SM was assessed higher by $11.50/mt from Tuesday at $1,062.50/mt CFR China and $1,022.50/mt FOB Korea Tuesday. The CFR China and FOB Korea SM markers currently take the average of the H2 March and H1 April laycans. There were no transparent bids and offers during the   Market on Close assessment process. H1 April was assessed at the pegged level of $1,066/mt CFR China, above the best bid heard at $1,065/mt with no offer heard. Maintaining the pegged March/April spread of minus $7/mt, H2 March was assessed at $1,059/mt CFR China. East China domestic March marker was assessed at Yuan 8,330/mt ex-tank, down Yuan 30/mt from Tuesday. On an import parity basis, this is approximately $1,041/mt. The FOB Korea marker was assessed at $1,022.50/mt Tuesday, based on the pegged $40/mt spread to CFR China, while the CFR Taiwan marker was assessed at $1,050.50/mt, based on the pegged $12/mt spread to CFR China.

Prices rise tracking increases in Asia

– March traded at $1005/mt

– Asian markers up $3/mt on the day

European spot prices rose tracking earlier increases in Asia. S&P Global CSG assessed styrene for loading 5-30 days forward at $994/mt FOB ARA Wednesday, up $1.50/mt on the day. Buying interest continued on Wednesday as March cargoes were heard traded at $1,005/mt. “It seems [the market] is starting to pick up, especially the forward months which we can see from the prices,” a distributor said. Demand has picked up this month on expectations of turnarounds in the second quarter. Market participants were said to be waiting for movement in Asia, particularly China. High stocks in China were limiting shipments from Europe, sources said. Chinese inventory levels were last heard at 306,500 mt on Wednesday. The distributor added that European prices will be driven by Chinese supply and demand. Early discussions of the March contract price settlement were heard, and a source expected a small increase following an uptick in the spot market. “Considering benzene and ethylene costs, spot prices and buying activity, I expect a Eur20-25/mt increase,” the distributor said. In Asia, styrene rose $3/mt day on day to $1,077/mt CFR China and $1,027/mt FOB Korea Wednesday.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global CSG assessed styrene for loading 5-30 days forward at $994/mt FOB ARA Wednesday, up $1.50/mt on the day. February was assessed at $981/mt, up $5/mt on the day, $1 above the bid heard at $980/mt with the offer at $990/mt. March was assessed at $1,005/mt, down $4/mt in line with two trades heard at $1,005/mt and also within a bid offer range of $1,000-1,010/mt.

Rises $4/mt in line with PX

Asian isomer-grade mixed xylene rose $4/mt from last Tuesday to $671/mt FOBKorea and $688/mt CFR Taiwan Tuesday tracking firmness both up and downstream. Asian paraxylene rose $4/mt over the same period to $1,105/mt CFR Taiwan/China, while April ICE Brent crude oil futures rose 45 cents/b to $61.93/b at 0830 GMT. The MX market was largely quiet Tuesday until bids for March FOB Korea cargoes were heard during the CSG Market on Close assessment process. No offers were heard to counter. As the Chinese market returned from last week’s holidays, the East China ex-tank price of isomer-MX was heard around Yuan 5,350-5,450/mt, equating to $663.70/mt on an import parity basis, according to a trade source in East China.

RATIONALE:

Isomer-MX was assessed up $4/mt from last Tuesday to $671/mt FOB Korea and $688/mt CFR Taiwan Tuesday. The markers take the average of the third and fourth half-month laycans, currently H1 March and H2 March. No bids or offers were registered during the CSG Market on Close assessment process. During the MOC process, March loading cargo was heard bid at $671/mt FOB Korea. Both H1 and H2 March laycans were assessed at $672/mt FOB Korea, above the bid. No bids or offers were heard during the MOC process on a CFR Taiwan basis. The CFR Taiwan price was assessed $4/mt higher tracking the FOB Korea marker and rising prices in related markets. The above rationale applies to the following market data codes: PHAUV00 for FOB Korea and PHAUT00 for CFR Taiwan.

Asian benzene market went higher week on week

FOB Korea benzene on Friday was assessed higher by $28.33/mt week on week, and up $14.33/mt day on day at $588.33/mt, as firm buying interest from Chinese buyers led traders to actively seek cargoes for loading across second-half February, March and April from South Korea. CFR China prices had risen earlier in the week, and CFR China was assessed higher by $18/mt week on week, and up $1.50/mt from Thursday at $604/mt. The uptrend in FOB Korea had earlier lagged the rise in CFR China, and the CFR China-FOB Korea spread peaked Thursday at $28.50/mt, but as FOB Korea prices caught up Friday, the spread narrowed to $15.67/mt. While the spread was insufficient to cover freight rates between South Korea and China heard at $21-$23/ mt for a 5,000 mt benzene parcel, market participants were heard optimistic that the arbitrage would re-open as discussions for March delivery picked up. Amid bullish sentiment in the market, major Chinese benzene producer China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec increased its domestic ex-tank price by Yuan 100/mt, a company source said Friday. The listed price for domestic East China benzene was increased to Yuan 4,750/mt from Yuan 4,650/mt. The new listed price equates to approximately $598.96/mt on an import parity basis, based on an exchange rate of 6.7025. The upward price revision is a move that a market source noted was “long overdue,” as prices both in the domestic East China market and in CFR China had risen steadily over the month in January. Preliminary statistics on South Korea’s export volume showed that the country exported 208,932 mt in January, down 83,332 mt from December, and down 25,153 mt on the year. This reflects thinner demand for South Korean cargoes from the US and Taiwan, which are the second and third largest buyer, respectively, of South Korean benzene based on 2018 statistics. Exports to the US in January were just 18.4% of total exports, down from the 2018 average of 24.8%. Exports to Taiwan in January were just 10.0% of total exports, down from the 2018 average of 19.8%. While market sources cited a possible recovery in demand from the US market amid upcoming turnarounds at aromatics units there, others noted that demand from the US for North Asian material could be limited amid ample supply from South Asia. Rationale FOB Korea benzene was assessed higher by $14.33/mt day on day at $588.33/mt Friday. The marker rolled forward Friday to take the average of the third, fourth and fifth half-month laycans, H1 March, H2 March, and H1 April. During the  Market on Close assessment process, there were no transparent bids and offers seen. The H1 and H2 March laycans were assessed at $586/mt FOB Korea, below an offer last seen at $593/mt FOB Korea, widening the March/April timespread to minus $7/mt, below an offer seen at minus $6/mt. The H1 April laycan was assessed at $593/mt FOB Korea, above a bid last seen at $592/mt FOB Korea. The CFR China marker was assessed at the pegged level of $604/mt, up $1.50/mt day on day, above a bid for March seen at $603/mt. The East China marker was assessed at Yuan 4,877/mt, up Yuan 17/mt day on day, or $614.42/mt on an import parity basis.

Ethylene prices noticed strong in Asia

Asian ethylene continued firming Friday, rising $10/mt day on day, buoyed by healthy spot demand in China ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays next week. On a week on week basis, spot prices rose $45/mt. Participants were completing last minute buying in the spot market this week, driven by firm demand from the styrene monomer sector where margins have been positive. This week, the Asian styrene monomer margin was hovering above $100/mt, in line with firmer spot styrene prices, according to data. Market sources said spot demand also emerged in China for ethylene-oxide following the recent EO capacity expansion there. Asian monoethylene glycol margins have been hovering at around minus $150-$180/mt this week,  data showed. Looking forward, market sources said it was unclear if Asian ethylene would continue rising as margins for most ethylene derivatives were currently negative. Asian polyethylene ethylene margin was calculated at minus $45/mt Friday, much lower than a typical breakeven spread of plus $150/mt, according to data. Some market sources said integrated producers would start considering selling spot ethylene cargoes, reducing their downstream plant runs amid positive ethylene margins. The recent strength in Asian ethylene pushed up the ethylene-naphtha spread above $570/mt this week, the highest level since September 2018,  data showed. The spread is higher than a breakeven spread of $350/mt. Rationale Spot prices rose $10/mt day on day to be assessed at $1,085/mt CFR Northeast Asia and $985/mt CFR Southeast Asia Friday. The tradable level was in the high-$1,000s/mt CFR Northeast Asia and high-$900s/ mt CFR Southeast Asia Friday. Rationale CFR China MEG price was assessed flat day on day at $625/mt on Friday for 15-30 days forward cargoes, reflecting a trade discussion heard at this level, and below an offer heard at $630/mt. China domestic price was assessed flat at Yuan 5,100/mt over the same period, reflecting tradable discussions heard at this level. CFR Southeast Asia MEG was assessed up $7/mt week on week at $630/mt on Friday, for 15-30 days forward cargoes, amid thin trade discussions, $5/mt higher than the CFR China marker.