LONDON (ICIS)–European benzene spot numbers have stayed relatively steady so far this month in a well-balanced market, sources said on Wednesday.
“Everyone is watching developments on crude oil and energy,” said one benzene trader. “Europe is a very balanced market right now, so that is keeping things quiet.”
After the October contract was settled at $583/tonne, spot numbers have largely hovered just below $600/tonne. Some gains on crude futures saw offers briefly push higher last week, but activity remained thin.
With the US market trading at $2.19/gal earlier this week before dipping slightly, this was keeping the arbitrage window open across the Atlantic at current price levels around the $600/tonne mark.
October spot values were at $585-610/tonne so far this week, while November was in contango at $595-620/tonne. December was higher still at $610-630/tonne, and bids for the first quarter were also seen at $620/tonne but these were not met with any offers.
However, European players felt that the current pricing structure was less of a contango and more due to the fact that prompt pricing was low due to the recent build-up in regional length.