HOUSTON (ICIS)–US spot benzene prices on Friday were in a wider range than a week ago amid a still-tight market, a sharply higher contract price settlement and lower upstream crude oil values.
Spot prices had moved lower early in the week, tracking declines in upstream crude oil values.
However, benzene spot prices strengthened late in the week as contract prices settled, upstream crude oil values recovered slightly and downstream styrene prices moved higher.
September contract prices had settled sharply higher early this week, tracking higher spot prices. Benzene contract prices tend to follow direction from the spot market, which have moved higher amid limited imports and some domestic production issues.
Meanwhile, demand has been healthy with few downstream outages or turnarounds heard. The majority of benzene consumed in the US is used to produce styrene, for which prices closed higher this week.
US benzene was assessed on Friday at $2.44-2.51/gal DDP (delivered, duty paid), compared to $2.44-2.45/gal DDP a week ago.
Major US benzene producers include ExxonMobil, Flint Hills Resources, LyondellBasell, Marathon Petroleum, Shell and Phillips 66.