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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

August US orthoxylene contracts fall by 3 cents/lb

US orthoxylene contracts settled at 45.5 cents/lb ($1,003/mt) for August, down 3 cents from July, market sources said Tuesday.

The decrease was within market expectations, as sources had indicated over the past week that a 2-3 cents/lb decrease was likely given the drop in upstream mixed xylene prices over the past month.

July MX prices averaged 292.9 cents/gal ($887.5/mt) FOB USG, Platts data showed, but prices have continued to drop in August.

MX was assessed Monday at 242 cents/gal ($733.3/mt) FOB USG, down 36 cents since end-July.

The decreases have come amid a sharp decline in gasoline prices and slower gasoline blending demand, sources said.

Production costs for OX are estimated at $150/mt above the MX price, market sources have said.

It is the first monthly decrease for US OX contracts since January, with prices having risen 12.5 cents/lb from January to July.

With the 45.5 cents/lb August settlement, US phthalic anhydride prices could decrease by 3 cents/lb in September.

PA prices typically change on a monthly basis, tracking movement in the preceding month’s OX contract price, market sources have said.

PA producers are seeking additional margin increases, which could impact price movements.

Stepan is seeking a 3 cents/lb increase in August, while Koppers has announced its own 3 cents/lb margin increase for October.

August PA prices were last assessed Thursday, with flake at 63.5 cents/lb ($1,400/mt) FOB USG delivered and molten at 66 cents/lb ($1,455/mt) FOB USG delivered.

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