Toluene Prices in India

Asian paraxylene rose $8.16/mt day on day to $1,101.83/mt CFR Taiwan/China

Asian paraxylene rose $8.16/mt day on day to $1,101.83/mt CFR Taiwan/China Friday on the back of firmer prices upstream and signs of stability in the downstream PTA futures market. May futures on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange rebounded after a mid-morning fall to close at Yuan 6,430/mt, down Yuan 8/mt on the day. A trader said the recent selloff in PTA futures was likely over for the moment. April ICE Brent crude oil futures rose $1.60/b day on day to $64.59/b at 0830 GMT in Asian trade, while naphtha rose $7.88/mt over the same period to $515.50/mt CFR Japan. Trading activity in the CSG Market on Close assessment process for PX was focused on April cargoes, with two trades for Asian origin cargoes at $1,105/mt CFR Taiwan/China in the MOC process.

RATIONALE:

PX was assessed up $8.16/mt day on day at $1,101.83/mt CFR Taiwan/China and $1,082.50/mt FOB Korea Friday. The markers take an average of the H2 March, and H1 April and H2 April laycans. The H1 and H2 April laycans were each assessed at $1,104.50/mt CFR Taiwan/China, above a bid for Asian origin from GS Caltex at $1,105/mt, after normalizing $1/mt for the restriction in origin, and below an offer at $1,105/mt from Oman Trading International. The H2 March laycan was assessed at $1,096.50/mt CFR Taiwan/China, at an $8/mt contango to April, in line with the pegged structure. No bids or offers were submitted for March in the MOC process. The above rationale applies to the following market data codes: PHASS05 for FOB Korea and AAQNE00 for CFR Taiwan/China.

phenol price updates
phenol price updates

Spot prices fall following earlier buy interest

European styrene started the week with falls in the spot market following earlier buy interest. S&P Global CSG assessed styrene for loading 5-30 days forward at $992.50/mt FOB ARA Tuesday, down $1/mt on the day. Earlier in the day, trades were heard at $980/mt followed by $975/mt for February cargoes. A trade was also heard at $1,010/mt for March ahead of the anticipated styrene turnarounds set to begin at the end of the first quarter. Traders closely monitoring the market began discussions of arbitrage opportunities. “If we drop below Asia by $80 [to account for freight] then we will see exports,” a trader said. In Asia, Asian styrene monomer fell $13/mt from last Tuesday to $1,074/mt CFR China and $1,024/mt FOB Korea Tuesday. Discussion remained muted as participants began returning to the market after week-long Lunar New Year holidays. In the US, styrene demand remains soft and it was last assessed at $990/mt FOB USG.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global CSG assessed styrene for loading 5-30 days forward at $992.50/mt FOB ARA Tuesday, down $1/mt on the day. February was assessed at $976/mt, down $4/mt, $1 above the latest outstanding bid at $975/mt with the offer at $985/mt. Earlier in the day, a February cargo traded at $980/mt, followed by another at $975/mt. March was assessed at $1,009/mt, down $6/mt on the day, $1 below the latest outstanding offer at $1,010/mt and with the bid at $1,000/mt. Earlier in the day, a March cargo traded at $1,010/mt.

Falls $13/mt amid slow demand outlook

Asian styrene monomer fell $13/mt from last Tuesday to $1,074/mt CFR China and $1,024/mt FOB Korea Tuesday on expectations that buying interest from downstream markets would not pick up strongly this week. Discussion remained muted as participants began returning to the market after week-long Lunar New Year holidays. In the east China domestic market, the prompt marker was assessed down Yuan 140/mt from last Tuesday at Yuan 8,430/mt ex-tank Tuesday, equating to $1,056/mt on an import parity basis. Operating rates of producers and buyers in downstream markets were expected to return to normal gradually. “Styrene price movements would depend on the rate at which operations return to pre-holiday rates. Further, new orders are expected to be limited this week,” a market participant in China said. High inventory levels of styrene in east China could also keep prices on a downtrend. The styrene inventory in east China stood at 306,500 mt Tuesday, up 37,000 mt from January 30, market sources said. Feedstock benzene rose $4/mt from last Tuesday to $609/mt CFR China Tuesday, while ethylene rose $15/mt over the same period to $1,100/mt CFR Northeast Asia. SM production margins remain healthy at $106.80/mt, although $20.70/mt lower than a month earlier, according to S&P Global CSG data.

RATIONALE:

Asian SM was assessed down $13/mt from last Tuesday at $1,074/mt CFR China and $1,024/mt FOB Korea Tuesday. The two markers currently take the average of the H1 and H2 March laycans. There were no transparent bids or offers during the CSG Market on Close assessment process. H1 and H2 March were each assessed at $1,074/mt CFR China. The East China domestic prompt marker was assessed at Yuan 8,430/mt ex-tank, down Yuan 140/mt from last Tuesday, and equating to $1,056/mt on an import parity basis. The FOB Korea marker was assessed at $1,024/mt, based on the pegged $50/mt spread to CFR China, and the CFR Taiwan marker at $1,062/mt, based on the pegged $12/mt spread to CFR China.

Take Decisions Based on Data
Take Decisions Based on Data

Exchange rate risk keeps CFR China buyers wary

leaving prices $1.83/mt lower from Tuesday at $596.17/mt FOB Korea. The fall in FOB Korea bucked the trend in related ICE Brent and naphtha markets, with April ICE Brent crude oil futures up 45 cents/b from Tuesday at $61.93/b at 0830 GMT Tuesday, while Mean of CSG Japan naphtha was up $11.13/mt at $496.25/mt. Market sources had expected a recovery in prices led by CFR China and East China domestic prices, but domestic prices started to fall in the afternoon, and CFR China bids and offers disappeared. Also, there was talk about the sharp depreciation of the Yuan, which had been stable last week amid the Lunar New Year holidays. The yuan-dollar rate started the week at 6.7495, compared with 6.7081 last week. This resulted in a diversion in East China prices and its import-parity equivalent, with the East China marker up Yuan 13/mt from Tuesday at Yuan 4,890/mt, while the import-parity marker down $2.10/mt over the same period at Yuan 4,890/mt. This kept CFR China discussions thin, as exchange rate risk amid a volatile yuan weighed on buying sentiment. Nonetheless, a trader said Tuesday that CFR China buying interest was likely to hold firm at the moment, but could change if a pick up in US demand lifts the price of ex-China material. Inventory levels were heard unchanged over the Lunar New Year holidays, as shipments in and out of tanks ground to a halt over the festive season. East China stocks stood at 230,000 mt Tuesday, unchanged on the week, but up 80,000 mt on the year.

RATIONALE:

FOB Korea benzene was assessed down $1.83/mt from Tuesday at $596.17/mt Tuesday. The marker takes the average of the third, fourth and fifth half-month laycans, H1 March, H2 March, and H1 April. During the S&P Global CSG Market on Close assessment process Tuesday, there were no transparent bids and offers seen. The H1 and H2 March laycans were assessed at $593/mt FOB Korea, below an offer last seen at $594/mt FOB Korea. The H1 April laycan was assessed at $602.50/mt FOB Korea, between a bid and an offer seen at $602/mt and $603/mt FOB Korea, respectively. The CFR China marker was assessed at $609/mt, up $4/mt on the day, above a bid last seen at $605/mt CFR Jiangyin/Ningbo/Changzhou. The East China marker was assessed at Yuan 4,890/mt Tuesday, up Yuan 13/mt from Tuesday, or $612.32/mt on an import-parity basis.

growth-6
growth-6

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.

Toluene Prices Showed Downtrend in the Indian Market

Chemical Industry

Toluene prices in India showed downtrend due to slow demand in the domestic market. Current toluene prices in the Indian market noticed around Rs 58/kg down by Rs 7/kg in last two weeks.

RIL  declined its manufactured toluene price by Rs 8.45/kg to Rs 57/kg.

Asia toluene was assessed up on the back of crude rise and in line with higher domestic price levels in China. Domestic toluene cargoes in China were heard sold at Yuan 6,150/mt, up Yuan 50/mt from Thursday, but down almost CNY 600/mt on week.

This was equivalent to $723.56/ mt on an import parity basis, sources said, after deducting CNY 100/mt for tank charges. ICE January Brent crude oil futures rose $1.10/b day on day but fell $3.93/bbl on the week to $67.69/b at 0830 GMT in Asian trade Friday.

Inventories were heard stable in China week on week, at 20,000 mt in the east and 6,000 mt in the south. However, buying interest was thin as market participants were largely adopting a wait-and-see approach.

Although upstream naphtha and crude oil futures regained some lost ground on Friday, it failed to bolster demand or sentiment in the weekly toluene market on the back of high inventories. Both producers and traders concurred they were unable to sell, as buyers held back purchases expecting prices to fall.

Rationale

The FOB Korea marker was assessed at $650.50/mt FOB Korea, up $1.50/mt day on day. The marker takes the average of the third and fourth half-month laycans, currently H2 December and H1 January.

During the CSG Market on the Close assessment process, no bids, offers or deals were seen. Earlier, a January bid was heard at $650/ mt FOB Korea, January was assessed at $651/mt FOB Korea while H2 December was assessed at $650/mt FOB Korea, changing the H2 December/January market structure from a backwardation to a contango.

The CFR China markers were assessed at $690.50/mt, up $1.50/mt in line with price gains in the domestic market.