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Soaring benzene prices lift downstream nylon chain values in December

Amid weaker demand in China, prices of Benzene soared across regions in December but later showed moderation. In US, spot benzene moved up to 16-month high due to rising Asian numbers, a strong derivative styrene market and low benzene fixtures to the US. In Europe, benzene spot moved up during the month. Asian marker, FOB Korea surged 18% in December and declined 5.9 per cent YoY. US spot prices rose 16.7 per cent while it fell 7.3 per cent YoY as compared to previous year’s average. European spot was up 22.6 per cent on the month while it fell 3.5 per cent YoY.

On the back of moderate demand and range‐bound benzene, prices of caprolactum continued to surge. Spot prices hit a 2-year high during the month on a CFR China and CFR Taiwan basis because of limited supply, feedstock benzene prices, higher domestic Chinese prices. Asian caprolactam spot prices in December were up 27.5% from last month while it declined 14.4 per cent YoY.

In line with surging caprolactum, prices of Nylon chip in December skyrocketed, given high crude oil and benzene values. Producers operated cautiously, leading to tight supply and low inventory. Converters trimmed operation and made rigid procurement. Coupled with healthy demand for engineering plastics/film grades, nylon chip market was bolstered a bit. Offers for Taiwan-origin chips were up 26.5 per cent from last month. In China, bright conventional spinning nylon-6 chips were up 30.3 per cent from November while semi-dull chips rose 30.1 per cent on the month.

Given higher raw material cost which in turn eroded margins, prices of Nylon filament yarn soared in December. Thus, suppliers trimmed run rates to below 70 per cent with cautious mentality. Demand for warp‐knitting, weaving and AJ covering sectors witnessed smooth sales while circular‐knitting mills and lacing mills ran at lower rate. In China, semi-dull FDY70D/24F was up US cents 59 a kg from previous month while FDY40D were US cents 64 on the month.

 
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