AFPM '12: US ethylene margins jump to record 54.80 cents/lb

02 April 2012 18:48  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--US ethylene margins rose to a record 54.80 cents/lb ($1,208/tonne, €906/tonne) last week, lifted by a sharp increase in ethylene spot prices, the ICIS margin report showed on Monday.

US ethylene margins, using ethane as a feedstock, have held steady above 50 cents/lb since March on support from increased ethylene spot prices amid a series of planned and unplanned cracker shutdowns in the US Gulf.

Ethylene for April delivery traded on Friday at 75.00 cents/lb, the highest spot transaction recorded on the ICIS database, dating back to 1986.

The surge last week came amid news of a disruption at a cracker in Louisiana.

Market sources said Williams had an outage at its Geismar unit, adding that the 612,000 tonne/year cracker will be off line for at least two weeks.

Williams declared force majeure on ethylene and will restrict deliveries at 50%, sources said on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).

Also lending support to US margins in recent weeks is a softening in feedstock ethane prices.

Ethane ended Friday at 52 cents/gal, down from 78 cents/gal in the first week of January.

Hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC lasts through Tuesday.

($1 = €0.75)

By: William Lemos
+1 713 525 2653

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