US ethylene spot margins rise 1.7% to near record high

28 January 2013 16:29  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene margins rose by 1.7% last week as higher spot prices outweighed an increase in ethane prices and pushed margins to a near-record high, the ICIS margin report showed on Monday.

Ethylene spot margins were assessed at 60.03 cents/lb ($1,323/tonne, €979/tonne) in the week that ended on 25 January, up from 59.02 cents/lb a week earlier, using ethane as a feedstock.

The figure is the second highest on the ICIS database behind a record 60.58 cents/lb in the week that ended on 6 April 2012.

US ethylene margins rose last week amid continued gains in the price of spot ethylene, which traded in a range of 66.75-68.25 cents/lb, rising on average by 3% from a week earlier.

The increase was partly trimmed by a small gain in the price of ethane, which rose by 1 cent/gal from a week earlier for a closing price of 26 cents/gal on Friday.

Ethylene prices remained firm last week despite the restart of Dow Chemical’s Freeport 7 cracker in Texas.

Dow performed maintenance on the 612,000 tonne/year cracker in the past two weeks after flaring the unit in early January because of a compressor trip.

The restart may have had no impact on ethylene spot prices, as at least three other US crackers remained off line for maintenance.

Ethylene margins have averaged 57.29 cents/lb so far in January, up from an average 43.95 cents/lb for 2012.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: William Lemos
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