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US toluene exports up 117% in September: USITC

Houston — Toluene exports from the US stood at 59,759.8 mt during September, up 32,178 mt, or 117%, on month, US International Trade Commission data showed this week.

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Latin America took 40,452 mt of US toluene in September, up 21,549 mt, or 114%, month on month and up almost 35,000 mt from the previous September, with Mexico as the primary destination, the data showed.

Mexico imported 40,444.8 mt of toluene from the US, being the main export destination in Latin America for US toluene, the ITC data showed. Exports to Latin American are 68% of the total US toluene exports, the data showed.

US toluene imports stood at 27,404 mt in September, a drop of 37% month on month but a gain of 116% year on year. Market sources have indicated that toluene imports were likely going to increase output of mixed xylene.

Canada continued being the top supplier of toluene to the US at 12,176 mt, with Taiwan, Italy, Colombia, Venezuela and China making up the majority of the remaining volumes. About 6,088 mt, or 22%, of the toluene imports came from Latin America, up 67% on month but 30% drop from previous year, the data showed. Colombia continued to be the top exporter to the US with 3,520 mt or 13% of the total volume imported into the US corresponding to the 58% of the Latin America total exports to the US. Venezuela is the second largest exporter of toluene from Latin America with 2,567 mt, or 9%, of the total US imports, the ITC data showed.

US mixed xylene exports reached 23,452 mt during September, 52% down on the month, the ITC showed. Latin America received 1,632 mt, or 7%, from the total US mixed xylene, almost 1,500 mt more from August with Mexico as the region's primary destination. India led the primary destination of the US mixed xylene at 10,977 mt, or 47%, followed by Canada at 10,815 mt, or 46%.

September orthoxylene exports were at 6,371 mt, up 1,276 mt, or 25%, month on month, but a 65% drop on year. Pakistan took 3,577 mt, or 56%, of the US September orthoxylene exports, the ITC data showed. Latin America took 2,747 mt, or 43%, of the US orthoxylene exported in September, down 2,342 mt or 46% on month with Mexico being the sole recipient of the US orthoxylene, the data showed. Other recipients of the US orthoxylene exports in September were Indonesia and Canada, the data showed.

Imports of orthoxylene into the US were at 1,937 mt, mainly from Saudi Arabia at 66%, Canada at 34% and Japan with 1% of the total US orthoxylene imported in September, the USITC showed.

September paraxylene exports were at 54,540 mt, 44,872 mt less, or a 45% drop, month on month, but 18% increase on year. Latin America took 31,754 mt of the US paraxylene exported in September, down 2% month on month and a 31% drop on year, the data showed. Mexico, Brazil and Chile were the most important destinations for the paraxylene exported to Latin America, with 31,754 mt corresponding to the 58% of the total volume exported to Latin America. Exports to Mexico stood at 20,343 mt, or 37% of the total US paraxylene exported during September, 7,891 mt more than previous month. Brazil took 10,452 mt, or 19%, of the US paraxylene exported in September, almost 9,465 mt less, or a 48% drop, month on month.

US benzene imports were at 243,385 mt, down 18% from August but up 552 mt or 0.2% from the year-ago month, the data showed. Iraq, Korea, Canada and Japan continued to be the main US suppliers, with roughly 54% of the total US intake -- 131,427 mt -- coming from there.

Cargoes from Latin America accounted for 15% of the total US benzene imports, with 36,529 mt making its way from the region in September, down 38% from August. Venezuela led the list of suppliers from the region, with 13,620 mt arriving in the US in September, which represented 37% of the total from Latin America in the US. Brazil-origin benzene was the second largest source, with 11,995 mt reported, followed by Mexico at 9,531 mt. Colombia-origin benzene accounted for 1,382 mt, or 4% of the total amount from Latin America, the ITC data showed.

--Charlie Uribe, charlie.uribe@spglobal.com

--Edited by Derek Sands, derek.sands@spglobal.com