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Record highs strain North American benzene chain

6:23 AM MST | November 16, 2012 | —Clay Boswell

North American benzene prices have climbed to historic highs driven by tight supply. The situation, which is expected to persist through December and possibly longer, is challenging downstream consumers while creating export opportunities for suppliers in Europe and Asia. Benzene in North America took a fairly ordinary course during the first half of 2012. Although spot prices were volatile, contracts changed little from February to July, keeping to a narrow range of $4.11–4.30/gal. As July progressed, however, signs of trouble appeared: persistent strong...

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