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.