HOUSTON (ICIS)--Initial US January ethylene contract settlements have been agreed at an increase of 0.25 cent/lb from the prior month, market sources said on Thursday, although the settlement is not yet confirmed to be marketwide.
The settlement puts January contract prices at 32.75 cents/lb ($722/tonne), up from 32.50 cents/lb in December.
The increase was driven by a slight uptick for ethylene spot prices and feedstock ethane costs in January.
Front-month ethylene traded in January at 26.50-29.00 cents/lb, a wider range than 26.75-27.75 cents/lb in December.
Average ethylene spot prices rose by 0.2 cent/lb in January over December.
Meanwhile, ethylene production costs rose in January as feedstock ethane costs rebounded from a nine-month low in December. During January, ethane prices hit a 13-month high, largely due to higher natural gas values.
However, falling costs for both propane and butane in January partly limited the impact of increased ethane costs.
US ethane, propane and butane prices
Average cash costs for ethylene production in January rose by 0.1 cent/lb over December.
US ethylene contract prices typically settle at the start of the month for the prior month.
Major US ethylene producers include ExxonMobil, INEOS, LyondellBasell and Shell Chemical.
Major US buyers include Occidental Chemical and Westlake Chemical.