US ethylene margins up 9% on higher spot, lower feed prices

28 August 2012 23:40  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene margins rose by 9% last week to their highest level since May, lifted by higher ethylene spot prices and lower ethane costs, the ICIS margin report showed on Tuesday.

Ethylene margins were assessed at 45.25 cents/lb ($998/tonne, €798/tonne), using ethane as a feedstock, up from 41.47 cents/lb in the week that ended on 17 August.

The increase came after a jump in the price of spot ethylene, which last week traded at an average 56.375 cents/lb, up by 7% from 52.875 cents/lb a week earlier.

A drop in the price of ethane, the main US feedstock used for ethylene production, gave a further boost to US margins.

Mont Belvieu ethane ended Friday at 33 cents/gal, down from 35 cents/gal in the previous week.

Ethylene prices extended their uptrend this week, trading on Tuesday at 59.25 cents/lb for August delivery, likely in response to potential supply disruptions with the arrival of Hurricane Isaac on the US Gulf coast.

The increase will result in stronger margins for US producers this week, as ethane traded down to 30.65 cents/gal.

($1 = €0.80)

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By: William Lemos
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