US ethylene margins rise 4% as monomer hike outweighs ethane

01 November 2010 17:52  [Source: ICIS news]

US ethylene margins rise 4%HOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene margins climbed by 4% in the past week as higher monomer spot prices outweighed a continued uptrend in ethane, the ICIS ethylene margin report showed on Monday.

Spot margins for ethane-sourced ethylene were assessed at 13.49 cents/lb ($297/tonne, €214/tonne) last week, up from 12.99 cents/lb in the week ended 22 October, according to the report.

November ethylene traded at 39.750-40.125 cents/lb in the week ended 29 October, rising from 38.500-39.000 cents/lb during the week ended 22 October.

The 3% average increase was fuelled by lean supply and a surge in the price of ethane, a key US feedstock for ethylene production.

Mt Belvieu ethane ended on Friday at 66.00 cents/gal for a weekly gain of 8%, which followed a jump of 5% in the previous week.

The uptrend stemmed from strong demand from chemical producers, a trend sources said was likely to continue.

Traders said ethane could gain another 10 cents/gal and still remain the preferred ethylene feedstock in the US, which is the world’s second-most competitive monomer producer as a result of the product.

Ethane accounts for around 60% of the US feedstocks used to make ethylene.

Ethylene spot prices posted new gains on Monday, trading at 41.00 cents/lb for November delivery.

That compared with a deal done at 40.125 cents/lb on Friday.

Meanwhile, ethane climbed to 67.25-67.50 cents/gal in early morning trading in line with gains in the upstream energy complex and continued firm demand.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: William Lemos
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