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Europe spot PX moves closer to record levels

February 18/2011

(ICIS) -- European spot paraxylene (PX) prices continued to firm this week despite a number of force majeure declarations on downstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA), market sources said on Friday.


The forces majeures have made no difference in the market and prices have gone up rather than down because the product is just getting absorbed elsewhere, said an aromatics trader. The trading source added that buyers were prepared to pay $1,800/tonne (?1,332/tonne) for spot PX.


BP recently declared its fourth force majeure (FM) on PTA at Geel, Belgium. There was also an FM at Lottes PTA site at Wilton, UK, which has since been lifted.


On Friday, spot PX was priced at $1,780-1,800/tonne FOB Rotterdam, higher than pre-crisis levels, but $190/tonne short of the record high on 17 March 1995 when spot PX was trading at $1,970-1,990/tonne FOB Rotterdam.


However, prices were clearly above pre-crisis levels. In July 2008, just before the global economic downturn, spot PX was valued at $1,680-1,695/tonne FOB Rotterdam. In relation to the recent price developments, a producer said: Its simply a case of demand, it is very strong globally.


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