Ethylene prices weaken in Asia, firm back up in Europe and US
In Asia, the ethylene market was down for the second week in a row with prices dropping by around $25-40/ton. Beforehand, spot ethylene prices hovered at a 7 month-high in September. Players attributed the recent softening to the eased tightness in supply owing to improved imports from the Middle East. Another reason that weighed down on the market was the week-long holiday in China as it kept activity dampened both in the country and South Korea throughout this past week.
Nevertheless, the European market was up this past week, recouping the loss recorded in the first week of October thanks to increased buying interest among consumers as well as relatively restricted supplies due to the turnarounds across the region. Spot ethylene costs moved back up by around €75/ton during the week. Ineos and Borealis shut their Cologne and Porvoo crackers, respectively for 1-2 month long maintenances. Total has also been conducting a turnaround at its Gonfrevill cracker since September. Versalis will also start a turnaround at its cracker in Porto Marghera on October 20.
Similarly, the spot US ethylene market pared some of its earlier losses this past week by rising $44/ton on the week due to returning restocking activities. The higher contract settlements for August and September also contributed to the firmer sentiment. Higher settlements were driven by the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which caused largely reduced ethylene supplies in the country at the time.
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