09 November 2011 18:45 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Ethane spot prices on the US Gulf traded below 90 cents/gal for the first time since 13 October on lower demand and cracker outages, ethane market sourcessaid on Wednesday.
Ethane gains were pared in the past two weeks partly because of weakened demand, with trades holding mainly between 90-93 cents/gal, according to ICIS. Ethane was traded at 99.25 cents/gal on 6-7 October, moving up from 81.75 cents/gal on 4 October.
Ethane market sources said there has been less demand and fewer buyers in the market, but there is no concrete reason for this. Ethane remains the favoured feedstock for chemical companies as normal butane prices drive higher on gasoline blending demand, sources said.
In the past couple of weeks, there have been some operational problems at Gulf coast ethylene crackers that could have reduced ethane demand.
On 1 November, Eastman Chemical was recovering from a compressor trip the previous day at its 358,000 tonnes/year Longview cracker in Texas.
LyondellBasell’s 1.75m tonne/year Channelview ethylene crackers in Texas were down on 21 October from a power outage. Market sources said the crackers would remain offline for two weeks. The restart of the crackers had not been confirmed.
Ethane market sources said these events were not significant enough to affect market demand considerably, but they caused a drop in ethane spot prices by 10 cents/gal.
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