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April US, European benzene contracts settle lower again; US sees 6th split settlement

HOUSTON, March 31, 2017 (PCW) -– US and European benzene contract prices fell again on lower spot and downstream values.

The US April contract price settled at 266 cpg and 271 cpg, down 56-59 cpg from March, the contract’s sixth consecutive split settlement. Meanwhile, the European April contract price has settled at €745/mt ($797/mt or 266 cpg) CIF NWE, down €192/mt from the March settlement.

Continued heavy turnarounds at downstream units across the globe weighed heavily on benzene markets, as did hefty crude losses during March. Additionally, sharp losses in global styrene markets, as the supply-demand balance loosened, also had a knock-on effect on feedstock benzene prices.

Spot US prices fell 43 cpg ($129/mt), or 13.7%, in March, while European benzene lost $180/mt (60.2 cpg), or 18.6%. In Asia, spot benzene dropped $135/mt (45.2 cpg), or 14.7%. Brent, meanwhile, gave up $3.40/bbl, or 6%, during the same time frame. -- Samantha Hartke

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