European buyers brace for triple-digit hike in benzene, styrene contracts for second month straight; prices for February benzene contract likely to settle in range from US$1,280/tonne to US$1,310/tonne CIF ARA, market sources say

LOS ANGELES , January 31, 2012 () – Buyers in Europe are steeling themselves for another three-digit price hike in the February benzene contract on strong pricing on the Asian and U.S. markets, higher crude prices and tight supply of pyrolysis gas, ICIS news reported Jan. 31, citing market sources.

The January benzene contract settled at US$1,108-$1,115 per tonne free on board northwest Europe. Last week, benzene was trading between $1,310/tonne cost, insurance and freight Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp and $1,280/tonne, and market insiders expect it to settle somewhere in within that range.

Market players anticipate that the monthly styrene barge contract will follow the benzene contract upward. Styrene suppliers already are struggling with passing on January's triple-digit hike to customers since downstream demand has been sluggish.

The primary source of this article is ICIS news, Sutton, England, Jan. 31, 2012.

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