Adverse Effects From the Downstream Industry Push US Benzene Prices Southwards
- 07-Mar-2023 10:14 AM
- Journalist: Motoki Sasaki
Texas- In the first week of March 2023, Benzene prices declined sharply, accompanied by the declining trend for styrene monomers in the US market. The drop in demand for the product from end-use manufacturing units occurred as inventories were sufficient to cater to the domestic demand. The supply of commodities has greatly risen as maintenance equipment has been gradually restarted. Styrene's price has significantly dropped, falling ahead of other chemical futures on the market, partly because of the continually high operation of port inventories. The drop was represented in the port's spot market. At the start of the third month of 2023, the final prices of Benzene in the US market were observed at USD 1359 per MT, FOB Louisiana, with a drop of more than 4% weekly.
The industrial production of Benzene requires Crude Oil as the primary upstream element. In the US market, the WTI Crude Oil prices have risen on account of better market sentiments and higher calls for the product from the East Asian market. The Chinese manufacturing and purchasing activities inclined the previous month, leading to healthier demand situations. Proportionate impacts in Industrial activities were witnessed in the US market leading to better Benzene inventories.
End-use sector (automotive) has recovered from the previous year's loss leading to better industrial output. With better operational and purchasing strength complemented by rising inventories, the prices of Styrene (downstream) declined. On the other hand, the housing sector in the US market plunged as the mortgage rate in the domestic market lowered the demand strength from consumers. Proportionally, the housing and coating sector requiring Benzene as a feedstock showcased slower demand towards the end of mid-Q1 of 2023.
Benzene has been in the headlines for the past month after the train incident that occurred in Ohio released a higher volume of Benzene into the environment and caused a supply shortage with end-use businesses. However, the prices continued to decline as the buyers did not place new orders pressuring the Benzene manufacturers to keep the prices on the lower edge. As per ChemAnalyst, Benzene prices are anticipated to decline slightly in the US market owing to the weak demand outlook.