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Global February benzene contracts settle sharply higher; US split yet again

HOUSTON, January 31, 2016 (PCW) -- Global February benzene contract prices increased again as spot prices shot up amid expectations of tight supplies during a heavy turnaround period. The US saw its third consecutive split settlement.

European markets surged on production issues from ExxonMobil’s Botlek plant in the Netherlands and low Rhine levels, which slowed exports. Asia saw feverish buying in the first half of the month before traders headed out for the Lunar New Year holidays.

The US Feb contract price settled at 332 cpg ($993/mt) and 334 cpg ($999/mt), up 59-65 cpg, its third consecutive split settlement.

Meanwhile, the European Feb contract price has settled at €983/mt CIF NWE ($1061/mt or 355 cpg), up €177/mt from Jan.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy settled the Feb Asia Contract Price last Friday at $1010/mt (338 cpg), up $165/mt from the Jan ACP.

Asian spot prices rose $180/mt, or 22%, in January, while European benzene gained $195/mt, or 23%. US prices were up 48 cpg ($144/mt), or 18%. Brent crude, meanwhile, fell $1.62/bbl, or 3%.

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