US ethylene margins jump to highest level since May 2011

30 January 2012 20:44  [Source: ICIS news]

US ethylene margins growHOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene margins rose by nearly 8% last week, jumping to their highest level since May 2011 on increased spot prices for the monomer, the ICIS margin report showed on Monday.

Ethylene margins rose to 40.05 cents/lb ($883/tonne, €671/tonne), using ethane as a feedstock, up from 37.17 cents/lb in the week ended 20 January.

The increase followed a 2% gain in the price of spot ethylene in the week that ended on 27 January. The monomer traded at 59.00-63.00 cents/lb for January delivery, up from deals done at 59.00-60.50 cents/lb a week earlier.

Ethylene spot prices rose on news of at least one confirmed cracker outage in Texas late in the week.

Also lending support to margins last week were higher co-product monomer prices.

Polymer-grade propylene (PGP) for January traded at 63.50-65.50 cents/lb, up from 62.25 cents/lb a week earlier, while second-quarter PGP was transacted at 69 and 70 cents/lb, up from 62.50 cents/lb in the previous week.

PGP prices rose on the back of refinery-grade propylene (RGP) prices, which posted sharp gains in January because of higher alkylation values.

RGP for February was offered at 66 cents/lb on Monday with no bids, while February ethylene was bid at 61 cents/lb with no offers.

Mont Belvieu ethane prices dropped to 56 cents/gal, from 58 cents/gal on Friday, pressured by weaker demand as a result of scheduled and unplanned cracker outages in the US Gulf.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: William Lemos
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