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Asia’s Mixed Xylene Price Edge Lowest in 17 Years; Weak Demand Patterns

Asia’s mixed xylene prices have been pushed to their lowest since May 2003 below the $400 per MT mark due to bearish market sentiments in China. FOB prices in Korea were assessed to be $388 per MT, while the CFR Northeast Asia price stood at $422 per MT as on 23rd March. This is compounded by the huge inventory pile ups due to reduced offtake by the end-users who are wishing to delay their April cargoes. The production margins between downstream paraxylene (PX) and isomer Mixed Xylene have declined to a four-month low, which might force reduction in the operating rates in northeast Asia. As PX producers usually fix one-year’s supply of MX by contract, the surplus volumes were sold to the spot market when operation cuts were implemented. However, the demand is likely to experience gains as trade restrictions relax after a long pause due to Covid-19.