The Urethane Blog

European Benzene on the Rise

Wide NWE benzene contract-spot spread spurs talk of July ECP increase


London (Platts)–24Jun2015/941 am EDT/1341 GMT



The wide spread between European benzene spot and contract prices has spurred talk of an increase in the European contract price (ECP) for July, which is expected to settle early next week, industry sources said.

Spot prices have risen $57/mt or 7% since the beginning of the month to $862/mt CIF ARA Tuesday, Platts data showed, on the back of outages at European steam crackers and the growing use of LPG as feedstock in crackers reducing the availability of feedstock pyrolysis gasoline for benzene production.

Current benzene prices put the spot market at a 12% or $92/mt premium to the June benzene ECP of $770/mt (Eur707/mt) CIF ARA.

"Benzene has been firming all month, so going into July it should reflect the bullish fundamentals through an increase," a consumer source said.

Furthermore, with the turnaround schedule at downstream styrene monomer production units largely concluded, the uptick in demand from the styrene market was also expected to support benzene going forward.

Trinseo restarted its 500,000 mt/year Terneuzen styrene plant in the Netherlands in mid-June after a turnaround which began in mid-April, leaving only 3% of styrene capacity remaining offline from an estimated 20% during May, Platts data showed.

Typically, spot benzene trades concluded during the five working days prior to the contract price settlement form a starting point for negotiations.

The last traded value for July delivery was reported Wednesday at $860/mt CIF ARA.