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Asias benzene market may turn weak in the fourth quarter

September 20/2011

(ICIS) -- Asias benzene market may turn weak in the fourth quarter as regional demand from the styrene monomer (SM) sector, as well as US' imports of the aromatics product, traditionally slackens towards the end of the year, industry sources said on Tuesday. SM production is the largest downstream for benzene, using up an estimated 50-55% of Asia's output of the material.

Spot benzene prices in Asia were hovering at about USD 1,070-1,085/tonne (EUR 781-792/tonne) FOB (free on board) Korea on Tuesday morning, according to ICIS.

At present, regional demand for benzene from the SM sector is steady, as SM producers currently generate robust margins, market sources said.

But the onset of the winter season from November in northeastern Asia usually leads to a slowing of demand for SM and, consequently, for benzene. Because of the freezing weather, there is less activity in the construction industry, which is a major end-user of SM.

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