NPRA '10: US ethylene seen up 2-4 cts/lb in March, down after

29 March 2010 00:27  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--US ethylene contract prices will likely rise by 2-4 cents/lb ($44-88/tonne or €33-66/tonne) in March, but the monomer may begin to soften in the following months, pressured by lower feedstock values, market sources said on Sunday.

Feedstock ethane has steadily decreased in the last four weeks, pointing to pressure on ethylene going forward, a source said on the sidelines of the National Petrochemical & Refiner Association (NPRA) meeting in San Antonio.

Ethane prices were at 56 cents/gal on Friday, down from 73 cents/gal in the first week of March.

US ethylene contracts for January and February settled at a combined increase of 9.50 cents/lb, rising by 22% from December on firm demand and tight supply.

The settlements were agreed at increases of 6.00 cents/lb for January and 3.50 cents/lb for February, putting February at 52.50 cents/lb, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

US ethylene contracts usually settle at the end of the month being negotiated. Double or even triple-month settlements are not unusual, and some market participants said a two-month March-April settlement was as a possibility.

In the spot market, ethylene prices for prompt delivery were down in the last week of March, but April spot prices rose as demand focus shifted to the coming month.

March ethylene traded at 61.00-63.00 cents/lb during the week ended 26 March, down from 67.00 cents/lb a week earlier.

Meanwhile, April ethylene traded at 61.00 cents/lb but bids late in the week were at 62.00 cents/lb, up from deals at 52.00-55.00 cents/lb in the week ended 19 March.

The NPRA International Petrochemical Conference runs Sunday through Tuesday.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: William Lemos
+1 713 525 2653



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