US spot ethylene gives back part of gains from Williams explosion

28 June 2013 22:08  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US spot ethylene prices fell during the week ended 28 June, sources said on Friday, giving back a portion of their gains from the Williams Olefins cracker explosion on 13 June.

US June ethylene spot prices were assessed by ICIS at 56.5-57.0 cents/lb ($1,246-1,257/tonne, €959-968/tonne), down from the previous week’s range of 59.25-60.00 cents/lb.

Additionally, bids fell to 54.5 cents/lb on Friday and offers dropped to 58 cents/lb compared with 62 cents/lb seen on 21 June.

The drop in prices came as several crackers began the restart process the weekend following 21 June, lengthening supply.

“We’re not surprised prices have come down,” a buyer said. “But it will take awhile before they hit where they were before the explosion.”

Before the explosion and fire at Williams’ cracker in Geismar, Louisiana, on 13 June, US June ethylene spot prices were trading in the 53-54 cent/lb level.

Following the explosion, prices surged to the 59-60 cents/lb level, in-line with market expectations.

The two-week run-up in spot prices could lend strength to producers during the upcoming contract negotiations, sources said.

US ethylene contracts remain assessed at March levels following the postponement of April and May contracts. Market players said a triple-month settlement for April, May and June is expected in early July.

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)

By: John Dietrich

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