US ethylene prices fall on weaker demand, cracker restarts

19 November 2012 22:39  [Source: ICIS news]

US ethylene prices fall on weaker demand, cracker restartsHOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene prices fell on Monday, pressured by weakening demand and looser supply after the restart of two crackers in Texas in the past few days.

Ethylene for November delivery traded at 51.00 cents/lb ($1,124/tonne, €877/tonne), down from deals done at 53.25 cents/lb last week.

"Demand is very poor across the board," a market participant said, adding that prices could soften further after the Thanksgiving holiday in the US later this week.

December ethylene traded earlier in the day at 50.625 cents/lb.

In addition to weaker demand, support for ethylene is eroding as a result of looser supply with the recent restart of two US crackers that had been off line since October.

ExxonMobil restarted one of its Baytown crackers in Texas, resuming operations after an outage that began on 20 October, while Eastman Chemical restarted one of its Longview crackers in Texas after a six-week planned turnaround.

The restarts left the US with only one cracker off line, as Flint Hills Resources (FHR) continued to perform maintenance at its Port Arthur cracker in Texas.

The 621,000 tonne/year unit, which was taken down on 21 September, is expected to be restarted in the next few weeks, according to information in the market.

($1 = €0.78)

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By: William Lemos
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