Uptick in US spot ethylene prices boosts February margins

28 February 2011 19:42  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Spot margins for US ethane-based ethylene production rose during the week ended 25 February, helping to push average spot margins for February to a three-month high, the ICIS US ethylene margin report showed on Monday.

Spot margins rose by nearly 8% to 24.38 cents/lb ($537/tonne, €392/tonne).

Rising ethylene spot prices, combined with declining ethane feedstock costs, boosted ethane cracker margins for the second consecutive week.

Meanwhile, spot margins for US naphtha-based ethylene were cut nearly in half by a sharp rise in naphtha prices.

Despite the week-on-week decline, naphtha-based spot margins posted their highest monthly average since May 2010 because of rising co-product values and ethylene spot prices.

February ethylene contract discussions were not yet settled, so weekly contract margin fluctuations were in line with feedstock trends.

Contract margins for ethane crackers rose by 1.38 cents/lb, while contract margins for naphtha crackers fell by 9.03 cents/lb.

Contract margins are expected to get a lift from higher February contract settlements.

A US polyethylene (PE) market participant predicted February ethylene contracts would rise by 3-4 cents/lb from January, following an uptrend in spot prices this month.

($1 = €0.73)

For more on ethylene visit ICIS chemical intelligence
Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy


By: David Barry
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