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Asia benzene hits new 28-month high, tracks Europe price spike

January 27/2011

(ICIS) -- Asias spot benzene values jumped $30/tonne (?22/tonne) on Thursday morning, hitting a fresh 28-month high, tracking the rally in European prices overnight, traders said.


Prices were hovering at $1,150-1,160/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea on Thursday morning, up $30/tonne from Wednesdays close and surpassing the $1,150/tonne FOB Korea level set on 1 September 2008, according to ICIS.


In early trade, bids for March loading were heard at $1,145-1,150/tonne FOB Korea, but sellers remained on the sidelines.


European benzene values for February climbed $38-115/tonne on Wednesday to $1,300-1,385/tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) ARA (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp), precipitating the spikes in the US market, with the bullish sentiment spilling over to Asia.


US benzene values firmed by $0.04-0.12/gal to $4.30-4.40/gal or $1,285-1,315/tonne FOB Barges late on Wednesday.


Due to price gaps of $135-155/tonne between US and Asia benzene values, and of $150-225/tonne between Europe and Asian values, the window for arbitrage trades to the West was wide open, traders said.


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