Oxo-alcohols Price in India

Asian Benzene – FOB Korea jumps $26.33/mt on laycan rollover

Chemical Industry

– Benzene-naphtha spread flips back to positive

– Thin CFR China discussions amid VAT reduction


Benchmark FOB Korea laycans in the Asian benzene market rolled forward Tuesday amid a steep $18-$20/mt contango between the April and May. A positive benzene-naphtha spread supported benzene prices, flipping to $20.08/mt Tuesday after being negative last Tuesday and hitting a decade low of minus $18.25/mt the day before. While the price spread between benzene and naphtha has hovered below breakeven levels of around $150/mt since the fourth quarter of last year, sources had earlier said firm paraxylene margins were supporting refinery profits. Demand was thin for CFR China benzene Tuesday, although the East China market was finding its footing after China’s value-added tax was reduced to 13% from 16% on Tuesday in a bid to support the domestic manufacturing economy. In South Korea, benzene exports totaled 236,146 mt in March, up from 230,768 mt in February, latest customs data showed. Exports to the US comprised 29,565 mt or 13% of the total, in line with an annual pick-up in US demand for South Korean benzene in the second quarter. Inventory levels in East China rose 4,000 mt on the week to 247,000 mt Tuesday. This comes amid lower downstream operating rates in China amid reports the government was conducting checks at plants in Jiangsu province after a blast at a chemical plant in Yancheng, Jiangsu, two weeks ago. While an end-date to the checks is not known, market sources said more plants were expected to shut as the checks progressed.


Benzene was assessed up $26.33/mt from Tuesday at $582.33/mt FOB Korea Tuesday amid a laycan rollover. The marker takes the average of the third, fourth and fifth half-month laycans, currently H1 May, H2 May and H1 June. During the  Market on Close assessment process, a bid for June loading cargo was last seen at $586/mt FOB Korea by GS Caltex. The H1 May and H2 May laycans were each assessed at $580/mt FOB Korea, narrowing the May/June spread to minus $7/mt, above a bid last seen at minus $8/mt. The H1 June laycan was assessed at $587/mt, above GS Caltex’s bid and below an offer at $589/mt FOB Korea. The CFR China marker was assessed up $9/mt from last Tuesday at $559/mt, tracking gains in domestic East China prices. The East China marker was assessed up Yuan 77/mt over the same period at Yuan 4,360/mt, equating to $562.97/mt on an import parity basis.

Asian Styrene: Slides $30/mt on week; assessed $1,042.50/mt CFR China

Imported Data

– Consumption picks up slower than expectation

– ABS held stable, GPPS/HIPS rises $10/mt

Asian styrene monomer slid $30/mt on the day to a two-month low of $1,042.50/mt CFR China and $1,002.50/mt FOB Korea Thursday as consumption has been picking up much slower than market expectation. This is the largest day-on-day decline in approximately four months. Further, feedstock benzene CFR China decreased by $12/mt on the day to $591.50/mt Thursday as Sinopec, a major Chinese benzene producer, has cut its domestic ex-tank benzene price by Yuan 150/mt to Yuan 4,650/mt. In the east China domestic market, prices fell throughout the day with the prompt marker down Yuan 200/mt on the day at Yuan 8,070/mt ex-tank Thursday. According to market sources, styrene inventory in east China fell 28,500 mt on the week at 325,000 mt, where consumption of 35,500 mt outstripped arrivals of 7,000 mt. Despite the week-on-week decline, sources said that total inventory remains considerably high and consumption has been weaker than expected, leading to bearishness in the market. “Market has been concerned about the record high styrene inventory in east China and all eyes have been on the week-on-week change. Persistently high inventory and slow demand recovery have eventually led to a crash in prices,” a market source said. Sources further noted that SM buying sentiments will likely be affected as prices softened. In trade statistics news, Thailand’s styrene imports increased 159.9% on the month, or 1,794.9% on the year, to 11,540 mt in February. In related downstream markets, week on week, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene were unchanged at $1,560/mt CFR China and $1,580/mt CFR Southeast Asia, general purpose polystyrene rose $10/mt to $1,290/mt CFR China and $1,320/mt CFR Southeast Asia while high-impact polystyrene increased $10/mt to $1,345/mt CFR China and $1,370/mt CFR Southeast Asia Thursday.


Asian SM was assessed down $30/mt on the day at $1,042.50/mt CFR China and $1,002.50/mt FOB Korea Thursday. The markers currently take the average of the H2 April and H1 May laycans. There were no transparent bids or offers during the Thursday Market on Close assessment process on Thursday. H1 May was assessed at $1,044/mt CFR China, between the best bid heard at $1,040/mt against the best offer heard at $1,045/mt. Maintaining the pegged April/May spread of minus $3/mt, H2 April was assessed at $1,041/mt CFR China, below a normalized any April offer heard at $1,040/mt. The any April offer is restrictive as half-month delivery laycan declaration has already passed. In the East China domestic market, the prompt marker was assessed down Yuan 200/mt on the day at Yuan 8,070/mt ex-tank, equating to $1,015.85/mt on an import parity basis. The FOB Korea marker was assessed at $1,002.50/mt, based on the pegged $40/mt spread to CFR China, while the CFR Taiwan marker was assessed at $1,030.50/mt, based on the pegged $12/mt spread to CFR China.

Asian isomer-grade mixed xylenes rose

– Naphtha rallies $15/mt

– PX jumps $7.42/mt

Asian isomer-grade mixed xylenes rose from Tuesday by $2/mt to $694/mt FOB Korea and at $708/mt CFR Taiwan on Tuesday, tracking rising prices in related markets. A trade source said market participants were still eying exports to the US amid recent price rises there. However, the Asian MX market was quiet Tuesday. In related markets, April ICE Brent crude oil futures rose $1.95/b to $66.78/b at 0830 GMT in Asian trade, while naphtha jumped $15.25/mt to $535.25/mt CFR Japan. Asian paraxylene also increased by $7.42/mt to $1,113.42/mt CFR Taiwan/China.


Isomer-MX was assessed up from Tuesday by $2/mt at $694/mt FOB Korea and at $708/mt CFR Taiwan on 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   Market on Close assessment process or heard during the day. The two markers were pegged and assessed up $2/mt based on movements in related markets. The above rationale applies to the following market data codes: PHAUV00 for FOB Korea and PHAUT00 for CFR Taiwan.


Fundamentals remain tight in Europe

European toluene started the week with fundamentals unchanged. The market entered a tight supply environment in January, as production issues in Europe followed the seasonal malaise over the winter holidays. The production difficulties in question for toluene are expected to be resolved by the end of the month, according to sources. Arbitrage opportunities for the toluene market remained shut at the end of last week, with European pricing higher than forward dates seen in the US and in Asia. The Asian market slipped $12/mt on Tuesday to $595/mt FOB Korea and $629/mt CFR China. End-users were in no rush to buy toluene or MX, sources said, as factories were yet to restart following the Lunar New Year holidays. Downstream plastics demand has been a demand-booster globally for toluene, with paraxylene margins through disproportionation of toluene consistently positive. This spread was last seen at $306/mt in Europe on Tuesday. Increased demand was seen in the US on Tuesday, with prices up by 4 cents to 221 cents/gal (around $682/mt). Supply in the US market was also described as tight, matching Europe.


S&P Global CSG assessed the CIF ARA toluene premium over Eurobob gasolineat $185/mt for February on Tuesday, stable from Tuesday. A trader indicated that the market was unchanged, with outright prices in a range of $690-$700/mt. Movement in Eurobob barge swaps for February did not disprove the premium. The March premium was assessed at $182.75/mt, stable from Tuesday with no disproving indications.

Solvent mixed xylene noticed lower

Solvent-grade mixed xylene was assessed $10/mt lower week on week on Friday at $610/mt FOB Korea on lower selling ideas, while demand — particularly from China — remained sluggish due to the Lunar New Year holidays. Many market participants were already absent from the market. Meanwhile, South Korean parcels were moving into Southeast Asia, where margins were better than China, market sources said. In plant news, Korea Petrochemical Industry Co. plans to shut its benzene-toluene-xylene plant in Onsan for about one month of maintenance in April, a market source said. The plant has the capacity to produce 180,000 mt/year of benzene, 70,000 mt/ year of toluene and 40,000 mt/year of solvent-grade mixed xylene. South Korea’s LG Chem is planning to shut its Daesan aromatics plant for 35 days of maintenance in March, a source close to the company said. The plant can produce 24,000 mt/year of solvent-grade mixed xylene, along with 264,000 mt/year of benzene and 54,000 mt/year of toluene. Maintenance at the plant will overlap with the turnaround at the upstream cracker, as previously reported by  . MX inventories in eastern China were heard to be steady at around 61,000 mt. Rationale Solvent-MX was assessed down $10/mt week on week at $600/mt FOB Korea Friday on the back of lower discussions. A deal at $625/ mt FOB Korea was not considered in the assessment as the size was too small. Another producer said $590/mt FOB Northeast Asia might be a workable price, although similarly acknowledged it was not a firm offer. No bids or offers were heard during the  Market on Close assessment process. The CFR China marker was assessed at $620/ mt, unchanged on thin trade and prevailing discussions. The Southeast Asia marker was assessed at $660/mt CFR, reflecting decreases in the broader market. The CFR India marker was assessed at $664/ mt, down $10/mt, based on the freight differential of $64/mt between Korea and India.

Phthalic anhydride prices noticed stable to up

Spot trading activity for Phthalic Anhydride gained traction this week as more buyers in Southeast Asia stepped up their purchase of feedstock ahead of the Lunar New Year. “Spot supply for Phthalic Anhydride in SEA is tight and there is strong demand from buyers who want to buy more to stock up their inventories,” a South Korean producer, who sold eight parcels of PA cargoes totalling over 1,200 mt to SEA buyers this week, said. On the other hand, buying interest for Dioctyl Phthalate was reported stronger as Chinese buyers want to stock up before the commencement of the Lunar New Year festivities this week. “I do not think the DOP market in China has really gotten stronger this week, but rather the strengthening of the Chinese Yuan against the greenback this week has made imported material more palatable to them,” a Taiwanese producer, who sold a cargo to Chinese buyer at $1,050/mt CFR China this week, said. The same Taiwanese producer offered at cargo at $1,050/mt CFR China last week, but there were no takers. On the SEA marker, sellers however, had to lower their offers for DOP in the SEA market to entice buying interest.”We sold two cargoes this week, but we have to lower our price as we are eager to offload these materials before the Lunar New Year,” a South Korean trader, who sold two parcels of DOP to SEA buyers this week, said. RATIONALE: CFR China dioctyl phthalate was assessed up $10/mt week on week at $1,050/mt Friday, based on a trade concluded at $1,050/mt CFR China. The CFR Southeast Asia marker was assessed down $15/mt week on week at $1,210/mt, reflecting two deals done in the range of $1,200-$1,215/mt CFR SEA. Phthalic anhydride was assessed unchanged week on week at $900/mt CFR China, as price discussions were heard at $900/mt CFR China. The SEA marker was up $10/mt on week at $965/mt CFR SEA, based on eight trades concluded at a range of$960-$980/mt CFR SEA. CFR China 2-EH marker was assessed unchanged on the week at $1,035/mt CFR China this week, as price discussion were heard at around $1,035/mt CFR China. The SEA marker was assessed unchanged week on week at $1,075/mt CFR SEA on muted trading. The China and SEA marker for normal butanol was assessed unchanged on week at $910/mt CFR China and$910/mt CFR SEA, respectively, due to a muted market.

Phenol price went up in India

Imported Data

Asian phenol/acetone prices were stable over the week leading up to Friday. While supply was increasing on the restart of plants in East China, turnarounds were also ongoing. Upstream, benzene was assessed up $13/mt on the week at $569/mt FOB Korea Friday, while propylene, another feedstock for phenol/acetone, was assessed unchanged over the same period at $925/mt FOB Korea Friday.

PHENOL: While spot supply for January and February cargoes was thin Friday, demand was also muted, sources said. Selling indications were heard at $1,050/mt CFR China, but a buyer said Friday that with domestic East China prices at Yuan 8,300-8,400/mt, approximately $970-$980/mt CFR China, buyers were unlikely to meet offer levels which they considered “high.” In the domestic market, however, sellers were optimistic about prices over the year. Phenol producers said that with the start up of multiple polycarbonate plants, demand for bisphenol-A was likely to firm, bringing with it demand for feedstock phenol. However, it was also possible that with growing supply of polycarbonate, prices would fall, resulting in narrowing spreads between polycarbonate and phenol. On the other hand, demand for phenol from other downstream segments such as cyclohexanone and caprolactam was thin, owing to narrow price spreads between feedstock and downstream products. CFR China phenol was assessed unchanged on the week at $1,025/mt, while CFR India phenol was assessed stable over the same period at $1,080/mt.

ACETONE: Losses on acetone production continued to be high, with domestic producers estimating around Yuan 300 lost with every metric ton of acetone produced. Acetone’s is typically used for producing methyl methacrylate, but demand from MMA producers have been weak, sources said. CFR China acetone was assessed unchanged week on week at $425/mt, while CFR India phenol was assessed stable over the same period at $465/mt.

Isopropyl Alcohol Price Increased by Shell Chemical

Chemical Industry

Shell Chemical will increase US isopropyl alcohol prices by 5 cents/lb effective March 15, the ongoing company said. The company didn’t cite any specific reasons in a letter to customers seen on Tuesday, but Shell does add that the March 15 increases will maintain addition to any previously announced increases for March.

Shell Chemical Joined Others

Shell Chemical substance joins Dow Chemical substance, ExxonMobil Chemical, LyondellBasell and Monument Chemical and with other isopropyl alcohol price suppliers with planned mid-March increases.

Dow Chemical substance, LyondellBasell and Monument Chemical substance are planning to increase US isopropyl alcohol price by 5 cents/lb effective March 15, and ExxonMobil intends to improve prices by 5 cents/lb effective March 11, the firms said in previous letters to customers.

Rising Feedstock

The marketplace has seen pressure from rising feedstock contract pricing and offers tightness, sources have said.
Supply has been referred to as tight over summer and winter on discussions of creation problems and preparations for planned turnarounds.

Feedstock chemical-grade propylene, in addition, has seen the power in the 1st weeks of the entire year, with February agreements settling late the other day near a two-year most of 46.50 cents/lb, 6 up. from January 50 cents.
Supply tightness, feedstock prices pressure US isopropyl alcohol price: sources

Tightness in place availability has maintained strain on the US isopropyl alcohol marketplace, and likely raises in feedstock agreements appear primed to include further pressure, Tuesday sources said.

Rising Demand in America & Europe

Stronger demand in America and Europe, production problems in the next half of this past year and anticipation of the next maintenance in the initial quarter possess combined to restrict place availability, sources said.
Tuesday at 49 US isopropyl alcohol price was assessed.50-50.50 cents/lb ($1,091-$1,113/mt) FOB USG, the best since late November.

“There’s still not really a good deal of extra volume away there,” a distributor said.
Spot prices received minimal rest from lower December feedstock chemical-grade propylene contracts, and objectives for higher January agreements will probably apply further pressure, sources said. We provide daily news and updates on isopropyl alcohol price in India.

December agreements for feedstock chemical-quality propylene declined 4 cents/lb to a nine-month low of 30 cents/lb, but targets for January have needed increases of just as much as 5-7 cents/lb, resources for the reason that market said.

Contract buyers who have a propylene component within their contracts have observed easing in prices this month, but that will be short-lived provided with the January expectations, a source said.

The Substantial Push

“There was a substantial push in the late summertime and early fall to get Isopropyl alcohol price up, and it appears to have organized,” the foundation added.

US Isopropyl alcohol price suppliers and marketers to concern pricing increases in the next half of this past year included ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell, Monument Chemical substance and Dow Chemical, according to letters delivered to customers at that time.