NWE Xylenes – MX trading stalemate broken; supply still long

Chemical Industry

– No impact on NWE PX from Formosa shutdown: sources

– PX, OX negotiations ongoing

The stalemate that has persisted between buyers and sellers in the mixed xylene market since the end of March was broken Wednesday as trading activity emerged. The April premium over Eurobob gasoline gained slightly as a result, up $8/mt on the day at $113/mt CIF ARA. Demand emerged for April 20-30 delivery, though there were still cargoes heard to be arriving in H1 April and loading H2 April in the Mediterranean. “MX is still long,” a trader said. “There is still some volume in the ARA market and no demand.” The May premium was stable at $105/mt CIF ARA. The European paraxylene market remained quiet Wednesday, despite the shutdown of Formosa Chemicals and Fibre Corp.’s No. 3 aromatics plant at Mailiao, Taiwan, affecting the paraxylene market in Asia. “I don’t expect much impact on the European market. They [Formosa’s customers] will get supply from Asia,” a trader said. “I don’t think European cargoes will replace the lost volume.” Orthoxylene spot pricing in Europe was also stable, with little activity heard Wednesday. In contract news, negotiations for April settlements of paraxylene and orthoxylene are ongoing, with both appearing to be tricky this month. In the paraxylene market, spot pricing has taken a sharp downturn since the March settlement. In the orthoxylene market, European supply is still low and is being balanced by Korean imports.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global Wednesday assessed the M1 April mixed xylenes CIF ARA premium over Eurobob gasoline up $8/mt on the day at $113/mt Wednesday, at the level of a trade in the Market on Close assessment process. Stasco sold 1,000 mt to Total for April 20-30 delivery. The May premium was stable at $105/mt CIF ARA, amid no disproving indications. April Northwest European paraxylene was stable at $910/mt FOB ARA, in line with an indication by a trader. May was stable at $910/mt FOB ARA, maintaining parity with April. The paraxylene 5-30 day forward spot price was assessed as the average of the period at $910/mt FOB ARA, stable on the day. Orthoxylene was assessed stable at $1,020/mt FOB ARA, amid no disproving indications.

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