03 May 2013 22:06 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US spot ethylene prices hit their lowest level in 15 weeks on the back of weak demand, sources said on Friday.
US spot ethylene prices for the front month were assessed at 54.000 cents/lb ($1,190/tonne, €916/tonne), their lowest since settling at 53.875 cents/lb for the week ended 14 December 2012.
Spot ethylene prices fell by 4.250-4.875 cents/lb week on week, and buyers expect continued weakness through May.
The weakness stems mostly from soft demand from the polyethylene (PE) market, owing to softness in the economy.
Additionally, sources said that despite three US crackers being down for maintenance, supply is mostly balanced and material is not difficult to find.
The biggest factor that could keep spot prices from declining further, sources said, is if producers lower their operating rates to tighten supply and keep prices steady.
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 = €0.77)
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