11 September 2012 15:57 [Source: ICIS news]
By Brian Ford
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Hurricane Isaac is long gone, but the storm continued to make some ripples in chemical markets during the week following its passage.
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Those shutdowns had an impact on ethylene markets and downstream chemicals, as well as chlor-alkalis and styrenics.
The settlement, a nearly 10% increase from July, came after spot prices rose by 14% in August as a result of outages and reduced operations at some US crackers.
At least two units were taken off line in
On 6 September, sources said polyethylene (PE) contracts ended August in a split settlement, with at least one producer settling at an increase of 3 cents/lb, while most other producers pushed through a 5 cent/lb increase.
Feedstock ethylene costs offered strong support for the full increase, according to one producer. Also, PE supply disruptions caused by Isaac contributed support to higher prices, sources said.
With the increase, prices for linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) butene film were at 67-70 cents/lb delivered (DEL), low density polyethylene (LDPE) film prices were at 76-79 cents/lb DEL and high density polyethylene (HDPE) blow moulding prices were at 65-68 cents/lb DEL, for small volume buyers, as assessed by ICIS.
US ethylene oxide (EO) contract prices for August were also assessed higher on the back of the ethylene contract increase. Contracts for August were assessed higher by 3.20 cents/lb on 7 September. EO was assessed at 49.80-59.30 cents/lb.
The rise in spot ethylene may have also been a factor in the rise of ethyl acetate (etac) prices during the first week of September.
Sources added that etac contract prices jumped 5 cents/lb to 80-84 cents/lb, from 75-79 cents/lb previously. Spot prices rose by the same amount, to 76-80 cents/lb, from 71-75 cents/lb previously, also stemming from feedstock hikes.
Isaac was also cited as a factor in a fall in US propylene stocks and refinery operating rates for the last week of August.
Propylene inventories were at 5.002m bbl in the week that ended on 31 August, down by 3.7% from 5.194m bbl a week earlier.
In chlor-alkali markets, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) spot and export prices rose after outages caused by the storm tightened supplies.
Several US PVC producers have operations on the US Gulf coast, particularly in
Firm PVC prices in the
US caustic soda spot and export prices are assessed stable for the week ended 7 September, but market participants were discussing a set of price initiatives that would largely go into effect in October. The producers have cited restricted supply caused by unplanned shutdowns caused by Isaac.
Ripples from Isaac may even reach
“As a region that is net short of styrene, we are feeling the loss of
Styrene plants in
Total Petrochemicals said it restarted its Carville facility in
Indeed, most chemical plants that were affected by Isaac had either restarted or were in the process of doing so.
BASF's Geismar complex in
Dow Chemical has resumed normal resuming operations at its complexes in Plaquemine and Taft. Dow produces chlor-alkalis, ethylene and polyethylene (PE) among other products at the sites.
Additional reporting by William Lemos, Michelle Klump, Ken Fountain, Al Greenwood, Leela Landress, Ron Coifman, Brian Balboa and Julia Meehan
($1 = €0.78)
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