US spot ethylene rebounds as contract talks continue

08 May 2013 23:33  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US spot ethylene prices rebounded on Wednesday while sources said contract talks continue and could drag on.

US spot ethylene for May traded three times on Wednesday, at 58.000 cents/lb ($1,279/tonne, €972/tonne), 58.250 cents/lb and 58.375 cents/lb.

Market players were at a loss to explain the increase, citing continued soft demand from the polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sectors.

The previous trade for May ethylene was heard at 54 cents/lb the previous week, sources said.

Spot trading had been thin, with sources citing the weak demand and balanced supply in the market.

As spot prices rebounded, talks for the April ethylene contract continued, with some sources saying a double-month settlement could be coming.

“There are a lot of buyers saying prices need to come down,” a buyer said. “But the producers aren’t having it. We could see a line drawn in the sand.”

US March ethylene contracts settled at 48 cents/lb, the third month in a row at that level.

At the start of May, market sources said they were expecting a decline of 0.75-1.00 cent/lb for April contracts.

US ethylene contracts are typically settled at the start of the month for the previous month.

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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