Europe ethylene spot market quiet, mixed messages on demand

17 November 2017 15:51 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--There was limited spot activity in the European ethylene spot market this week, according to sources on Friday, as a clearer picture for supply and demand balances is expected early next week.

However, sources said that for the time being many of them were in a wait-and-see position amid mixed messages on the demand front.

Some players have suggested that there are already signs of a slowing in consumption and have pointed to the polyethylene (PE) and ethylene glycol (EG) sectors in particular, describing them as soft.

Others say that core demand for PE remains healthy but that there is an oversupply, inventory levels having been built up substantially during August and September and with the effects of Hurricane Harvey no longer a factor.

Consumers’ are likely to face some calls to increase next month’s contract reference price on the back of the rise in naphtha costs month on month, and so are obviously keen to understand more about the supply and demand balance going forward.

Last week, some 14,000 tonnes of ethylene was traded at discounts of 6% against the November contract reference price and at 7% discount against the December contract reference price.

Sources said these levels were still representative today and one 3,000-tonne lot was traded at minus 7%.

Interestingly though, there was talk that an export cargo had been fixed ex-Europe for Asia, loading in H2, apparently on the vessel Norgas Napa, but details remained patchy and nothing was confirmed.

Some players said they had had discussions regarding potential exports but that nothing had been concreted, yet.

By Nel Weddle