US benzene at three-month high on crude, demand and global movement
Houston (Platts)–7 Mar 2016 541 pm EST/2241 GMT
US spot benzene prices rose 21 cents/gal, or $63/mt, Monday to a three-month high assessment at $2.29/gal ($685/mt) FOB US Gulf Coast.
US spot benzene pricing was last seen higher on December 3 at $2.30/gal FOB USG.
Sources attributed higher benzene pricing to upward price movement in crude, global benzene markets and US derivative styrene. US inventories were also lower than expected, a source said.
Market participants expected US prices to move higher as consistently closed arbitrages to the US would lead to shorter supply length into April, but not many expected this kind of upward movement during the first half of March.
NYMEX front-month crude settled $1.98 higher Monday at $37.90/b. This put the benzene-to-crude ratio for WTI at 2.54.
US derivative styrene rose 1.05 cents/lb, or $23/, Monday to 48.30 cents/lb ($1,065/mt) FOB USG.
March DDP benzene pricing was assessed Monday at $2.25/gal, while April FOB and DDP benzene pricing were assessed at $2.33/gal and $2.30/gal, respectively.
The market will likely continue higher in the short term on these same fundamentals, sources said.