NWE Benzene – Availability remains tight at prompt

Chemical Industry

– Turnaround uncertainty driving buying

– Imports seen capping market

The price of benzene loading 5-30 days forward was assessed $1/mt lower Friday at $765.50/mt, due to backwardation as the month rolled forward. Prices have pushed higher this week as the upstream energy market rallied over the Easter weekend. Higher pricing has been seen in the prompt due to tighter availability. Upstream, cracker turnarounds and maintenance works have begun to affect benzene run rates in Europe. Styrene production rates may have also been affected, as sellers have been seen sitting on supplies ahead of their respective turnarounds. This has been triggered by a declaration of force majeure across a slate of products at Shell’s Moerdijk production facility and its Pernis facility. The prompt premium is capped for the second half of May, a trader said. The timescale still allowed for US imports, he said, and material would also be incoming from India.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global assessed benzene for delivery 5-30 days forward at $765.50/mt CIF ARA Friday, down $1/mt from Friday due to market backwardation as delivery dates rolled forward. May was assessed at $763.50/mt with no disproving indications. June was assessed stable at $714/mt with no disproving indications. July was assessed at $709/mt, stable amid no disproving indications. August was assessed flat to July. September was assessed flat to August. FOB was assessed at $765.50/mt, flat to CIF.

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