US November ethylene contracts begin settling down 1.5 cents/lb

01 December 2017 19:46 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US November ethylene contracts have begun settling at a decrease of 1.5 cents/lb from the prior month, market sources said on Friday, but the settlement is not yet marketwide.

If fully accepted, the settlement would put November contract prices at 33.25 cents/lb ($733/tonne), compared to 34.75 cents/lb in October.

The decline is in line with slightly lower spot prices during November than the prior month. Front-month ethylene traded in a range of 25.5-30.0 cents/lb in November, compared with 26.50-30.0 cents/lb in October. However, market sources said the average spot price in November was 3 cents/lb lower than in October.

The effect of lower spot prices was slightly offset by an increase in average cash costs of about 0.25 cent/lb.

Ethylene values have been under pressure during November following the restart of several US Gulf crackers. Most recently, a Chevron Phillips Chemical (CP Chem) ethylene unit at its Sweeny complex in Old Ocean, Texas, began restarting after a hurricane- and maintenance-related outage. Also during November, two ethylene units at Dow Chemical's Taft complex in St Charles, Louisiana, restarted after turnarounds.

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.

(updates throughout)

By Jessie Waldheim