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.
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.