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Global March benzene contracts settle lower; US split again

HOUSTON, March 1, 2017 (PCW) -– Global March benzene contract prices were lower amid weakening fundamentals and spot prices. The US saw yet another split settlement.

The US Mar contract price settled at 325 cpg and 327 cpg ($972/mt and $978/mt), down 7 cpg from Feb and also marking its fifth consecutive split settlement.

Meanwhile, the European Feb contract price has settled at €937/mt ($994/mt or 332 cpg) CIF NWE, down €46/mt from Feb.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy had nominated its Mar benzene Asia Contract Price at $$995/mt (333 cpg), down $15/mt from the Feb settlement.

After an apparent Feb squeeze, a slew of turnarounds at downstream units across the globe ultimately pulled feedstock benzene prices lower. Crude offered little support as it was weighed down by players adjusting to new production realities.

Spot Asian prices fell $42/mt, or 4.2%, in February, while European benzene decreased $70/mt, or 6.6%. US prices were 13.5 cpg ($40/mt) softer, or 4%. Brent crude, meanwhile, shed 87 cents/bbl, or 1.5%. -- Samantha Hartke

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