US ethylene margins flat as spot hike offsets feedstock jump

24 January 2011 21:29  [Source: ICIS news]

US ethylene margins stay flatHOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene margins were mostly steady in the week ended 21 January after higher spot prices offset an increase in feedstock costs, the ICIS margin report showed on Monday.

Using ethane as a feedstock, ethylene spot margins were at 17.63 cents/lb ($389/tonne, €284/tonne) last week, virtually unchanged from 17.68 cents/lb in the week ended 14 January.

Margins moved sideways as spot ethylene prices rose in tandem with higher ethane values.

Ethylene for January delivery traded at 42.750-43.125 cents/lb last week, up from 41.500-42.250 cents/lb a week earlier.

Meanwhile, ethane ended Friday at around 64 cents/gal, up from 60 cents/gal a week earlier.

The upswing in ethane surprised some market participants, who saw no discernable reason for the rise in the market last week.

Mont Belvieu ethane is up by 12% since trading as low as 57 cents/gal in the second week of January.

Talk was heard last week that perhaps a buyer was caught short and suddenly came back into the market with strong demand.

US ethylene bid/offers for January were steady on Monday at 42.50-44.00 cents/lb.

Ethane prices were also steady at 64.00-64.25 cents/gal.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: William Lemos
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