US spot ethylene prices fall 3.5% despite mid-week rebound

19 July 2013 22:16  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene spot prices fell 3.5% week over week before a mid-week rally capped the losses, sources said Friday.

“It was a dead-cat bounce,” a trader said. “Prices should be lower, back to where they were before the Williams fire.”

US ethylene spot prices were assessed by ICIS at 52.75-54.75 cents/lb ($1,163-1,207/tonne, €884-917/tonne) for the week ended 19 July.

Spot prices ended the previous week at 54.000-57.375 cents/lb.

July ethylene traded as low as 52.75 cents/lb, on Tuesday, its lowest since a deal done at 52.00 cents/lb on 11 June.

On 13 June, Williams Olefins’ Geismar cracker in Louisiana experienced an explosion and fire, tightening supply and leading to a short-term run-up on spot ethylene.

However, since the explosion, several US crackers have been restarted, pushing supply longer and relieving previous market tightness.

Demand for ethylene has also slipped, as several downstream polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plants have experienced production issues.

After July ethylene hit its low for the week, spot prices rebounded to trade between 53.50-53.75 cents/lb on 17 July and between 54.50-54.75 cents/lb on 18 July.

No fresh bids, offers or trades were heard completed on Friday.

Market sources attributed the mid-week rebound to speculation, as market fundamentals do not support a sustained rally.

($1 = €0.76)

By: John Dietrich

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