US spot ethylene declines 3.3% on plentiful supply, steady demand

10 July 2013 22:30  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US front-month spot ethylene prices fell by 3.3% on Wednesday from Tuesday, tracking plentiful supply and steady demand.

US ethylene for July, the current front month, traded at 56.0, 55.0 and then 54.5 cents/lb ($1,202/tonne, €938/tonne) on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, July ethylene traded at 57.375 and 56.75 cents/lb, almost 2 cents/lb lower on average.

The decline comes as sources said that supply is plentiful despite the continued shutdown of two US crackers.

Sources said Chevron Phillips Chemical’s Port Arthur cracker in Texas remains down, as does Williams Olefins’ Geismar cracker in Louisiana.

However, the two crackers represent less than 5% of overall US ethylene capacity.

Additionally, demand for ethylene from the polyethylene (PE) market is steady and tepid from the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market, sources said.

Market players had been expecting a downward push for spot ethylene following the restart of several crackers in late June, but prices held steady in the upper-50s cents/lb.

The trade at 54.5 cents/lb is the lowest since 12 June, when a trade was completed at 53.5 cents/lb.

However, spot prices climbed on 13 June following the fire and explosion at Williams Olefins’ cracker.

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 = €0.78)

By: John Dietrich

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