Europe naphtha cracker margins up in Q2 2012 from Q1 - analyst

29 June 2012 11:39  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European naphtha cracker margins are estimated to have increased in the second quarter of 2012, compared with the first quarter, on resilient prices, global analyst Bernstein Research said on Friday.

The analyst said naphtha cracker margins have improved in western Europe by around $100/tonne (€80/tonne) quarter on quarter, but added that they are down around $150/tonne year on year.

“Prices for naphtha cracking by-products (such as propylene and C4s) generally increased in the second quarter of 2012 and were the key driver of higher naphtha cracker margins since ethylene prices and naphtha prices were relatively resilient,” said Bernstein.

The analyst added that propylene margins increased sharply in the second quarter, compared with the previous quarter - up 20% in the US, while in western Europe and Asia, margins almost quadrupled.

However, propylene margins were down year on year, with a drop of 5% in western Europe and Asia, and 20% in the US, it added.

Bernstein said that margins for polycarbonate (PC), methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI), toluene di-isocyanate (TDI), expandable polystyrene (EPS), and nylon 6, all improved in the second quarter. However, only MDI showed significant margin improvements year on year, it added.

Looking towards third-quarter margins, Bernstein said it had started seeing prices roll over for many key raw materials such as naphtha, ethylene, propylene, benzene and butadiene.

“We expect that these will be offset by stronger pricing in some of the niche commodities such as MDI, but we expect petrochemicals margins to soften,” it added.

($1 = €0.80)

By: Leigh Stringer
+44 208 652 3214

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