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Asian ethylene indifferent to crude that nears 12 year-low

  • 13/01/2016 (10:31)
Crude oil futures on NYMEX and Brent hit as low as $30/bbl in intraday trading and hit near a 12-year low before recovering somewhat in the daily closures. Asian naphtha responded to this news with a daily loss of $15/ton on Tuesday while the cumulative loss spot naphtha recorded since January 1 reached almost 15% on average. On the other hand, ethylene prices in Asia remained unresponsive to these developments.

Players in the region reported stable prices for spot ethylene and attributed the ongoing steadiness of the prices to tight supplies. Although spot activity was considered limited, sellers were reportedly unwilling to cut their offers in the midst of scarce supplies. The region is preparing for a turnaround season with many major crackers across Japan and South Korea set to shut. Players report the shutdown dates of these crackers from February to April.

Ethylene buyers are away from the market, according to traders, as current prices are at par or even above import PE offers given to China.

Spot ethylene prices have been steadily firming up since early September, defying the downturn of crude oil prices. After December, the upward trend of spot ethylene prices seems to have lost speed; however, they have managed to stay firm while crude oil has plunged by almost 20% since then.



As a result of falling naphtha and steady ethylene prices, the spread between naphtha and ethylene has also climbed over $700/ton, nearing the records seen in the first half of 2015.
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