US spot ethylene prices cut weekly losses on cracker outage

12 April 2013 22:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US spot ethylene prices ended the week down by 3.6% on average on Friday, but were trending higher on talk of a cracker outage.

Sources said that once news hit the market that Williams had shut down its Geismar cracker in Louisiana on Thursday, spot prices started to climb.

Williams did not immediately return requests for comment regarding the status of its cracker.

Before the talk about the outage started to spread, spot prices for April material were holding in the 55-56 cents/lb ($1,213-1,235/tonne, €922-939/tonne) level.

Starting on Thursday afternoon, spot material for April was done three times at 58.00 cents/lb, then climbed to 59.00 cents/lb before ended the day at 60.25 cents/lb.

The stronger prices held on Friday, with deals heard done at 60.5 cents/lb and then 60.0 cents/lb.

Before the news of the cracker outage, spot prices had been falling slowly in late March and early April, shedding 3.5-7.5 cents/lb since mid-March because of steady to soft demand from the polymers market and long supply.

According to market talk, Williams’ cracker outage is expected to last until late next week. Sources said spot ethylene prices could hold their current level or increase slightly if demand picks up.

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

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

($1 = €0.76)

By: John Dietrich

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