13 September 2013 22:16 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US spot ethylene prices were slightly higher week on week, mostly on the back of a mid-week rally, sources said on Friday.
US spot ethylene prices moved up by 1 cent/lb ($22/tonne, €17/tonne) on the low end and fell by 0.5 cents/lb on the high end.
The tight trading did not surprise market players, who said that strong demand and long supply are mostly in balance.
“It depends on when you want to compare it, but prices could be seen as up or down,” a producer said.
US spot ethylene traded between 53.25-54.50 cents/lb during the week that ended on 13 September, although market activity was thin.
Sources said that only one major US cracker – Williams Olefins’ Geismar cracker in Louisiana – remains down. This has led to longer supply and the possibility of lower prices going forward.
Sources were mixed regarding demand for ethylene, mostly on a muddle situation in downstream polyethylene (PE).
“Demand is fine,” the producer said. “There is no trouble selling ethylene at the moment.”
Others said that the build up season for the US winter holidays is ending, which means demand will start to slide.
“The demand just isn’t there,” a buyer said. “If it was, we’d be seeing different things.”
The tight trading of September ethylene was matched by October ethylene, which was done between 53.0-53.5 cents/lb during the week.
Although no October material was reported done at 54.5 cents/lb, bid/offer levels for October and September ethylene reached parity by Thursday.
A week ago, October material had been in backwardation with September material.
($1 = €0.75)
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