20 January 2014 | Gurjit Degun
The price of benzene, a derivative of crude oil, increased by 15 per cent in Europe at the end of last year.
Data from Mintec revealed the rise was caused by supply constraints and an increase in the US price of the chemical.
On 31 October 2013, the price of Benzene was recorded at €858.50 (£708.57) per tonne, and on 25 December 2013 it was €1,003.40 (£828.16) per tonne. Last week the price had risen further, to €1,030 (£850.13) per tonne.
Benzene is used to produce various chemicals, which are then further processed into plastics, resins, adhesives and textiles.
Mintec said: “As a result of several production difficulties for European suppliers, benzene prices began to rise at the beginning of November and have since continued this upward trend.
“The supply situation was worsened due to an explosion at one of the largest European refineries in Belgium, Total’s Antwerp plant, in mid-November.
“European prices were additionally supported by rising prices in the US, where some tightness in supply has also been experienced. However, demand for benzene remains weak in both regions and expected new capacity starting in 2014, mostly in Asia, may lead to a fall in prices.”