Freight rates to move phenol from South China to West Coast India have increased more than 8% since last month due to stronger Indian demand for the solvent, industry sources said this week.
The rate for a cargo of 3,000-5,000 mt loading end-March stands at around $75-$80/mt, up from $60/mt in the second half of February, a ship broker and trader said.
As much as 20,000-25,000 mt is estimated to be loaded in March from China, Taiwan and South Korea combined to India, compared with the usual 9,000-12,000 mt/month, industry sources said, adding that vessel tonnage was also tightening.
Delays could take place due to limited availability of specialized vessels to transport phenol, a producer said.
Phenol is transported on stainless steel tankers due to its corrosive nature.
To keep the phenol in liquid form, the storage and transport vessels are usually insulated against heat losses.
International phenol prices in India have jumped over 10% since H1 February, with the notional deal currently at $960-$970/mt CFR India, industry sources said.
Offers were heard around $985-$990/mt CFR India for a 1,000-mt phenol cargo for April loading.
Strong demand from India has also put upward pressure on prices elsewhere in Asia, sources said.
The CFR China marker was assessed at $840/mt March 22, up 15% since February 5.
The phenol marker was assessed at $905/mt CFR Southeast Asia, up 13.1% over the same period.