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NWE benzene rises above $900/mt, tracking US market higher

London — The spot price of benzene in Northwest Europe rose above the $900/mt mark Tuesday, taking direction from moves seen across the Atlantic Monday, sources said.

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Bid-offer ranges for November and December rose sharply Tuesday morning to $935-$960/mt and $925-$945/mt, respectively, which were up from the assessed prices of $900/mt and $895/mt Monday.

In the US, the prompt FOB USG November price surged Monday by 18 cents/gal ($53.8/mt) to 360 cents/gal, with buyers keen to cover short positions for November in a very tight market.

The FOB USG December price jumped 15 cents/gal to 333 cents/gal, the laycan to which the European market tracked netback values.

The trans-Atlantic arbitrage had consistently remained open on paper in Europe, with the CIF ARA November price hovering at around a $50/mt discount to the FOB USG December price.

However, trading interest on working fresh exports was constrained as the December buy appetite in the US remained uncertain, sources said.

Refineries on the western side of the Atlantic were scheduled to come online in December, which was expected to ease the supply crunch together with inbound cargoes from Europe and Asia.

Meanwhile, spot prices in Asia also rose Tuesday amid the moves in the US, with the FOB Korea marker firming $23/mt to $859/mt.

--Sam Hashmi, sam.hashmi@spglobal.com
--Edited by Dan Lalor, daniel.lalor@spglobal.com