Petrotahlil :The increase was in line with market expectations as spot values were seen trading in the low-250s cents/gal.
Players said the market saw some support from supply-side tightness associated with a decrease in benzene shipments from South Korea to the US in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Between October 1 and December 20, South Korean benzene exports to the US totaled just under 122,000 mt, according to Korea International Trade Association statistics. By contrast, shipments in September totaled 118,615 mt, according to KITA.
Despite the supply tightness, derivative demand from the styrene segment has remained soft, with January styrene prices last assessed at $825/mt FOB USG.
Styrene prices have received support associated with a cost push from the benzene strength, sources said. Additionally, planned maintenance by US styrene producers in the first quarter of 2020 was expected to lend additional support for prices.
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