Asian spot ethylene market plunges to decade low
Prices down by $390/ton on average since downtrend started
Spot prices started to head south by early March due to widening supplies and weaker downstream demand, coming off a four-and-a-half month high that was achieved in February .
The cumulative decreases since the start of the bearish trend amounted to around $390/ton as of this week.
Production issues fail to lift sentiment
Hanwha Total Petrochemicals’ 1 million tons/year cracker in South Korea was shut in late March for maintenance. However, the planned restart was delayed for several times due to a labour strike.
However, concerns over a potential shortage of supply faded away as the producer finally resumed production late last week.
In other plant news, Asahi Kasei Mitsubishi Chemical’s 570,000 tons/year cracker, YNCC’s 860,000 tons/year cracker, LG Chemical’s 1.3 million tons/year of cracker, and Petrochina Lanzhou’s two ethylene units with a combined capacity of 700,000 tons/year are expected to resume normal operations within this month.
Asian players closely watch European ethylene markets
Players in Asian ethylene market have also been observing the market in Europe as an arbitrage window is still considered open despite the recent declines seen in the past week.
According to the weekly average data on ChemOrbis Price Wizard, European ethylene’s premium over Asia’s ethylene market reached as high as $345/ton this month, the highest level since March 2012.
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