Ethylene shortages push polyolefins prices up in Chile

18 February 2010 22:58  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Ethylene shortages in Chile are supporting polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) price increases in that country, local sources said on Thursday.

Domestic refiner ENAP is having undisclosed production difficulties that are resulting in a limited supply of ethylene for local polymer producers, who in turn do not have enough PE and/or PP for the market, sources said.

Local PP producer Petroquim was planning to work at reduced capacity for 15 days and stop production entirely for about 20 days due to raw material shortages, a company source confirmed without giving a timetable for the turnarounds.

PE prices in Chile have gone up to $1,650-1,800/tonne (€1,205-1,314/tonne) for low-density PE (LDPE), a $200/tonne increase since January, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

Ethylene scarcity is also causing polymer shortages in the US Gulf, where prices have been rising on tight supply.

LDPE material from Mexico has been offered to Chile in the range of $1,550-1,580/tonne CFR Chile Main Port, but the volumes were small, a buyer said.

It was not clear if Chile’s polymer prices would continue to rise in March, but current conditions were making this more likely, according to sources.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: George Martin
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