Ethylene prices continue to firm up in global markets
In Europe, spot prices are now at their highest levels seen on euro terms since mid-May 2016, according to weekly average levels on ChemOrbis Price Wizard. Spot prices, which have been firming steadily since early December, are up by €70-75/ton from early January in the face of the nearing turnaround season for crackers which will start in March while stronger demand from derivative markets is also supporting the sentiment in the spot market.
Looking at the upcoming cracker turnarounds in the region, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, OMV, Total and SABIC are preparing for shutdowns that are expected to last around 1-2 months.
Similarly in Asia, the turnaround season is set to kick off at regional crackers, which is keeping the spot ethylene market firm following the Chinese New Year holidays. According to sources, there will be around seven planned cracker shutdowns until the end of June in Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea.
Asian ethylene prices have been steadily moving up since mid-November and have gained around $100/ton since the beginning of the year, currently hovering at the levels not seen since July 2015.
In the US, January ethylene contracts settled 1.25 cents/lb ($27.5/ton) higher from December in line with the players’ expectations amidst stronger spot ethylene prices and unplanned production disruptions. Spot prices geared up by around $83/ton (3.75 cents/lb) at the end last week, maintaining the upward momentum that has been in place since early November.
Source: ChemOrbis Price Wizard
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