US spot ethylene continues downward spiral, ethane prices collapse

01 June 2012 17:54  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US spot ethylene continued to spiral downward on Friday, losing 17% for the week as feedstock ethane prices fell to their lowest levels in nearly 10 years.

Ethylene for June traded at 43 cents/lb ($948/tonne, €768/tonne), down from a deal done at 51.50 cents/lb on Tuesday.

The losses stem from looser supply, weak demand and sharply lower ethane prices.

Mont Belvieu ethane traded at 29.25 cents/gal on Friday, dropping by 25% for the week and falling to its lowest level since November 2002 as a result of excess supply.

Ethane production in March and April was 1.05m-1.06m bbl/day, while demand dropped to about 970,000 bbl/day, leading to a surplus of around 85,000 bbl/day, said Houston-based consultant Dan Lippe with Petral Consulting Company.

Ethylene bid/offers for June were last heard at 41-45 cents/lb.

The price of the US monomer has fallen by 44% since trading at a record 76.125 cents/lb only seven weeks ago.

US ethylene spot price surged in recent months on tight supply amid a busy maintenance season, but most US crackers have since resumed production.

($1 = €0.81)

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Additional reporting by Sheena Martin

By: William Lemos
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