Taiwan’s CPC eyes run cuts at naphtha crackers in March

12 February 2010 02:48  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Taiwan’s cracker operator Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC) may trim operating rates at its three crackers to 90-95% in March, on declining ethylene prices, an industry source said on Friday.

CPC had raised run rates to 95-100% this month from 90-95% in January, at a time of robust margins when razor-thin supply from the Middle East propelled ethylene prices to a high of $1,400/tonne (€1,022/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) northeast Asia in late January, he said.

“But now ethylene prices have weakened. According to current market conditions, there is a possibility for CPC to lower the cracker run rates to 90-95%,” the source said in Mandarin.

Prices of the petrochemical building block could not sustain at such high levels, tumbling from 17-month highs due to falling polyethylene (PE) prices, traders said.

Offers for spot ethylene for end-February or early March arrival were at $1,300-1,320/tonne CFR Asia this week against transactions concluded at above $1,350/tonne CFR Asia in the week ending 5 February, ICIS pricing data showed.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Felicia Loo

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