01 February 2013 21:33 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene contracts for January began to settle on Friday at 48 cents/lb ($1,058/tonne, €783/tonne), rising by 3.50 cents/lb from December on the back higher spot prices in the past few weeks.
The nearly 8% increase came as production costs were largely steady last month, while spot prices rose by just over 15% as a result of a spree of plant outages in the past few weeks.
At least five US crackers in December experienced unplanned outages, the impact of which spilled over into January, while three planned shutdowns last month and two unplanned outages lent further support to monomer prices.
The increase for January is the first since ethylene contracts rose by 2.25 cents/lb in September 2012. If a full-market settlement is confirmed, the January increase will nearly erase the 3.75 cent/lb reduction in October-December.
US ethylene contracts normally settle at the beginning of the month for the previous month.
Major US ethylene producers include Chevron Phillips Chemical, ExxonMobil, INEOS, LyondellBasell and Shell Chemicals.
Buyers include Dow Chemical, Georgia Gulf, Occidental Chemical and Total.
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