The Urethane Blog

Benzene Update


European benzene Feb contract price set to rise on tight fundamentals

London (Platts)–27 Jan 2017 700 am EST/1200 GMT


The February benzene contract price in Europe is expected to rise on the back of tight fundamentals, S&P Global Platts data indicates, with the benzene spot price surging to a fresh 26-month high on Thursday at $1,090/mt CIF ARA.

Although the market is steeply backwardated, February spot levels have been trending upwards since last week. Over the previous five working days, February was assessed successively at $990/mt, $1,005/mt, $1,065/mt, $1,070/mt and $1,075/mt.

The contract price is based on February deals in the preceding five working days of the contract settlement. The contract price is expected to settle on January 31.

Despite signs of easing prices late Thursday, with an offer for February heard at $1,050/mt, the contract price is expected to see a monthly increase.

The January contract price was fully settled at $842/mt or Eur806/mt.

The sharp increase in the spot price was on the back of a power issue at ExxonMobil’s petrochemicals site at Botlek in the Netherlands on January 17 which affected the benzene extraction unit.

Although a spokesman confirmed Friday that the issue was resolved and all units were operating smoothly, buying interest strengthened through the week.

Other regions followed gains in Europe, with spot pricing in Asia and the US reaching the highest levels since November 2014.

In contract news in Asia, Japan’s largest refiner JX Nippon Oil & Energy settled its February Asia contract price at $1,010/mt CFR, up $165/mt from January’s $845/mt level.

–Yuriko Kato,
–Edited by Alisdair Bowles,