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Price Assessment

The price of Benzene

  • What are our benzene price assessments?
  • How we assess the price of benzene
  • Evolution of benzene - a brief history of major changes

What are our benzene price assessments?

Platts benzene assessments are based on the price of physical barges and cargoes for loading or for delivery. We publish price assessments of benzene in Northwest Europe, the US Gulf Coast, South Korea, South East Asia, Taiwan.

Benzene is produced at the refinery via catalytic reforming; at the steam cracker as a by-product of the ethylene production process, extracted from pyrolysis gasoline; from coke oven gas. It is a colorless, toxic, aromatic liquid and is used to produce commodity chemicals and plastics such as styrene, bis-phenol A and cyclohexane.

South Korea is the key exporter of benzene in Asia, exporting 1.393,227 mt in 2013. Most of this -- 424,456 mt -- went principally to China; 352,923 mt to Taiwan, and 336,959 mt to the US. The US is net short and depends on imports from the Asian region, importing as much as 960,000 mt annually. The EU also depends on both Asia and the US, with net imports growing 57.3% year on year to 170,272 mt in the first four months of 2014, according to Eurostat.

How we assess the price of benzene

Our benzene price assessments are based on robust and transparent market data that includes, but is not limited to, firm bids and offers, expressions of interest to trade and confirmed trades of benzene reported during the Market On Close process every day. This information is summarized in our daily newsletters and published in full on our real-time information service, Platts Petrochemical Alert.

Global spot price assessments reflect benzene that conforms to ASTM D-2359 specifications.

In the US, Platts spot benzene assessments reflect monthly and quarterly forward physical delivery. We publish assessments for delivery of the current month (M1), second month (M2), third month (M3), and forward quarterly assessments.

These assessments are based on product trading for delivery at any time during the specified month. Platts monthly US spot benzene assessments roll from the current month to the next forward month five calendar days prior to the end of the month.

The European benchmarks reflect daily prices of the material 5-30 days forward on a FOB Rotterdam and CIF Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp basis. We also assesses prices of deliveries within specified months (from the current month to the fifth month out) and quarters reflecting periods between 6 and 9 months forward. Platts also publishes a monthly barge contract price on a CIF ARA basis in US dollars and Euros.

The benzene FOB Korea benchmark is one of the most liquid and most traded aromatics in Asia. The price of benzene FOB Korea is assessed on a daily basis for loading in second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth half-month forward cycles. The FOB Korea marker averages the means of the third and fourth half-month forward assessment ranges. All half-month cycles are rolled forward on the 1st and 16th days of each calendar month.

Evolution of benzene - a brief history of major changes

In the US, Platts has been assessing benzene on a FOB basis since January 7, 1983 and on a DDP basis since October 17, 2011. Since June 28, 1985, we have published the US monthly contract settlement.

In Europe, we launched weekly FOB Rotterdam benzene assessments on January 1983. From January 1995 the assessments became daily.

As the market developed we launched daily CIF European benzene price assessments, May 4, 2004, which was shortly followed in July with assessments for deliveries in the current and second months. Forward monthly and quarterly assessments (M3, M4, M5, Q1 and Q2) have been published since November 2001.

The benzene monthly contract price in euros has been published since October 4, 2002. From March 13, 2009, Platts started publishing the benzene contract price in US dollars, initially weekly, and then daily since January 2012. In Asia, we have been assessing benzene on a weekly CFR Taiwan basis since January 5, 1990. Daily benzene on an FOB Korea basis has been assessed since January 5, 2004, while the daily FOB Southeast Asia marker and differentials have been assessed since January 2, 2008.

Benzene paper swaps were introduced on March 10, 2008. Since August 27, 2010, and we publish the monthly JX Nippon Asian Contract Price nominations and settlements.


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