US March ethylene contracts expected to increase slightly

28 March 2013 19:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)—US March ethylene contracts are expected to settle slightly higher on feedstock costs and spot values, sources said on Thursday.

US March ethylene contracts are expected to increase by 1 cent/lb ($22/tonne, €17/tonne) from February levels.

US February ethylene contracts settled at 48 cents/lb. Ethylene contracts are typically settled at the beginning of the month for the previous month.

Sources said the increase is stemming from higher feedstock ethane costs, which have increased by 3-5 cents/gal in March.

The increase in ethane is coming from US crackers operating at strong rates, as well as higher prices for natural gas.

Additionally, demand for ethylene has been improving from the polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) markets.

The expected increase is being somewhat curbed by improved supply, as there were few unplanned cracker outages during the month, sources said.

Major US ethylene producers include Chevron Phillips Chemical, ExxonMobil, INEOS, LyondellBassell and Shell Chemical.

Major buyers include Axiall, Dow Chemical, Occidental Chemical and Total.

($1 = €0.78)

By: John Dietrich

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