Benzene spot prices were supported by lingering sentiment over tight inventories and firmer WTI crude prices, which reached near $50/bl, according to Argus DeWitt. The rising prices were offset by weaker styrene end-of-year demand. U.S. benzene prices will face upward pressure from limited imports during the fourth quarter as Asia styrene turnarounds are poised to conclude in October and will limit excess benzene imports from South Korea to the U.S.
In Europe, Naphtha reportedly rose alongside crude, reaching a one-year high. Benzene’s premium to feedstock naphtha declined further recently, hitting $226/t on October 6, the lowest since June. The short-term market is balanced. Demand in northern Europe is steady.
In the Asia-Pacific sector, South Korean sellers in December are likely to load high volumes of benzene for the U.S. market again in an effort to clear stocks at the end of the year. It is expected that the U.S. market will continue to have balanced supplies until the end of the year as export volumes from South Korea in the second and third quarter were limited. Southeast Asian benzene is more balanced compared with northeast Asia.
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