HOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene spot prices receded from the previous week’s run-up as panic from recent supply concerns subsided.
ICIS assessed prices on Friday were 35.000-40.625 cents/lb, from 38.250-42.000 cents/lb in the previous week.
Spot had climbed in the previous week, following the shutdown of two more crackers for scheduled maintenance.
Availability was already limited because of a heavy cracker turnaround season in the spring, and supply was constrained because of dwindling inventories.
Additionally, talk circulated in the previous week that a major producer further delayed the restart of its expanded cracker in Texas until November, causing ethylene spot prices to surge above 40 cents/lb.
Ethylene spot prices began slipping this week as the supply situation improved with the restart of an Illinois cracker that was shut down in mid-July for a scheduled turnaround.
Also, the expanded cracker in Texas is now scheduled to restart at the end of October – instead of November, as heard in the previous week – which has helped to ease some of those concerns regarding short supply.
Ethylene spot prices plunged late in the week as talk emerged that the expanded cracker is expected to begin operations in early October. However, this restart date was not confirmed by the company.
Nevertheless, the late-week drop enabled spot prices for front-month September ethylene to return to the mid-30s cents/lb, which was last seen in mid-August.
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