US ethylene margins fall another 4% on lower spot prices

26 November 2012 21:48  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene margins fell by nearly 4% in the third week of November, repeating the drop from the previous week amid a continued downtrend in ethylene spot prices, the ICIS margin report showed on Monday.

Ethylene spot margins were assessed at 41.71 cents/lb ($920/tonne, €708/tonne), using ethane as a feedstock, down from 43.37 cents/lb a week earlier.

The reduction came as US ethylene spot prices posted new losses last week, pressured by weakening demand and looser supply after the restart of two crackers in Texas that had been off line since October.

Ethylene for November delivery traded at an average 51.125 cents/lb last week, down from 53.250 cents/lb one week earlier.

November ethylene traded down to 50.750 cents/lb on Monday.

The latest drop in spot prices extended a downtrend that began in the last week of October and during which prices have fallen by nearly 10%.

Mont Belvieu ethane prices have also dropped in the past few weeks, falling to 28.25 cents/gal on Monday, the lowest price for the feedstock since June.

The reduction, which has offset part of the impact from lower spot prices on US margins, stems from a supply overhang.

Ethane accounts for around 60% of the feedstocks used to make ethylene in the US.

Despite the drop in the past two weeks, ethylene spot margins in the US have averaged 43.65 cents/lb so far in 2012, up by nearly 60% from an average 27.47 cents/lb in 2011.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: William Lemos
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