According to the ICIS website on July 27, demand for benzene in the United States is expected to increase slightly in the second half of 2020 due to the growing demand for derivatives, although pricing is expected to follow energy value.
The value of US benzene continued to rise with the price of crude oil as the market rebounded from its second quarter lows. In the week of July 24, spot prices for benzene closed for the month at $1.465 a gallon, up from $1.355 a gallon a month earlier.
Most market participants point to higher crude oil prices as the main driver of spot prices for benzene in the US in recent weeks. One market participant said the benzene market had been "energy driven" and the current state of the market did not emphasise other cost drivers.
Since late June, WTI has traded in a range of $39- $42 a barrel and has been flat since late April, when prices quickly surged from negative territory.
While demand for derivatives remains largely weak, benzene prices are likely to follow crude into the second half of the year.
Demand is likely to increase with increased demand for derivative styrene exports.