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Insight | Time:May 30 2018 2:11PM
Benzene inventory up to three-year high in East China
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Benzene inventory rose 4.1kt week on week to 228.9kt in East China port on May 30, according to data released by CCFGroup. The figure marked the highest level since May 13th 2015 when the inventory stood at 205.5kt, CCFGroup data showed.

China domestic benzene prices were cheaper than imports due to persistent inventory pressure. Asian benzene fell $23.50-$31/mt from last week on the back of weaker fundamentals. Prices were on a gradual downtrend all week due to lower East China prices, then fell more sharply Friday as crude oil futures slumped. The declined continued earlier this week, and trading activity this week remained suppressed by the closed arbitrage to China.

In terms of coal-based benzene supply, overall operating rate will decrease slightly due to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Qingdao, Shandong province in June 9-10. While the support to the market would be limited due to the inventory pressure in port area. Transportation of hazardous chemicals in Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong will be affected during May 30-June 10.

Downstream turnarounds were expected to end by June. However, market participants expected heavy inventory to impede import demand until at least July, and which was expected to continue weighing on CFR China discussion levels this week.
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