Strong gasoline blending demand to boost octanes as blendstock supply has been limited has sustained US toluene and mixed xylene spot pricing at higher levels, ultimately causing the toluene-RBOB gasoline and mixed xylene-RBOB gasoline price spreads to reach nine-month highs, sources said.
Monday’s toluene-RBOB gasoline price spread, at $1.17/gal, was last seen higher October 13, while the mixed xylene-RBOB gasoline price spread was last seen higher October 22, Platts data showed.
Both toluene and mixed xylene tend to be attractive for gasoline because of their high octane values, sources said, adding tight supply in reformate and alkylates have also contributed to firm toluene and MX pricing.
“While chemical demand for toluene and mixed xylene have been weak because of poor derivative production economics, buy interest for these chemicals has been strong as gasoline blenders have consistently shopped the spot market to buy toluene and mixed xylene to boost octanes in gasoline,” a trader source said.
Spot toluene was last assessed Monday at $3.11/gal ($945.44/mt) FOB US Gulf Coast, mixed xylene was assessed at $3.03/gal ($918.09/mt) FOB USG and NYMEX RBOB gasoline last settled Monday at $1.9396/gal.