US ethylene margins dip by 1.4% on softer spot prices

20 June 2011 16:41  [Source: ICIS news]

A US crackerHOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene spot margins fell by 1.4% in the third week of June due to a drop in ethylene (C2) spot prices, the ICIS margin report showed on Monday.

C2 margins fell to 34.96 cents/lb ($771/tonne, €540/tonne), from 35.45 cents/lb a week earlier, using ethane as a feedstock.

The drop followed a 1% average decline in C2 spot prices in the week ending 17 June.

C2 for June traded at 65.25-66.00 cents/lb last week, down from 65.00-67.50 cents/lb a week earlier, pressured by loosening supply and a softer outlook downstream resulting from weaker polyethylene (PE) demand.

US PE export demand has softened because of competition from lower Asian prices, while domestic demand is weakening as US buyers move to the sidelines in anticipation of lower prices.

C2 for June was offered at 66 cents/lb on Monday with no bids. July C2 was offered at 65 cents/lb, also with no buyer interest.

Market participants expect spot ethylene to gradually soften in the coming weeks, claiming fundamentals were not supportive of price levels of around 65 cents/lb.

With no announced turnarounds and no obvious operational issues, a decrease in spot prices is in the offing, one source said.

($1 = €0.70)

For more on C2, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: William Lemos
+1 713 525 2653

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