31 May 2013 23:28 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--A late downward run on Friday on June ethylene spot deals could create more downward pressure on the upcoming contract settlement.
US June ethylene, which still represented the front month on Friday, traded six times, all lower than two deals on Thursday at 55 cents/lb ($1,213/tonne, €934/tonne).
June ethylene traded once each at 51.250, 52.000, 52.750 and 53.875 cents/lb and twice at 54.000 cents/lb.
The trades trended downward throughout the afternoon and put June material at a steeper level of backwardation to May material, which was at 54.00-56.25 cents/lb based on bid/offer levels.
At the close of the previous week, June ethylene was 0.25 cents/lb cheaper than May ethylene.
The late drop in June ethylene could lead buyers to argue the market is falling on the expected restart of several crackers.
US ethylene market players are expected to negotiate and could settle the April and May contracts in a double-month settlement.
April settlements were postponed when buyers and sellers could not come to an agreement, with buyers pushing for a decline on soft demand and producers arguing that high spot prices should have led to an increase.
If June ethylene prices hold steady next week, it would put US ethylene spot price levels at their lowest since early December 2012.
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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