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Spot ethylene prices move down in global markets

by ChemOrbis Editorial Team -
  • 19/06/2012 (04:30)
Spot ethylene prices across the globe posted renewed losses over the past week. Consecutive falls in major markets including Europe, Asia and the US were driven by fluctuating feedstock markets weighed down by global economic woes and limited monomer demand from downstream markets.

In the upstream chain, NYMEX crude futures for July delivery regained some of their previous losses in the last two working days of the week. Futures contracts settled higher by a total of $1.41/barrel on Thursday and Friday, although prices still posted a 79 cents/barrel drop week over week. Crude oil prices have plunged by nearly $10/barrel over the past month.

In Europe and Asia, spot naphtha values gained $15/ton on a CFR Japan and CIF NWE basis week over week. In spite of last week’s gains, spot naphtha prices are mostly stable in Europe and down $30/ton in Asia with respect to the beginning of June. Market sources commented that refineries were producing less naphtha while maximizing their gasoline and distillate production in Asia. Demand from end users was restricted in Europe, sources added.

To track movements in global ethylene prices, please see Ethylene Analysis (For members only)

In Europe, the gains in spot ethylene prices earlier this month proved short-lived due to political and economic uncertainty in the region. Spot ethylene prices declined €25/ton ($32/ton) on FD NWE basis from the previous week. Nevertheless, spot prices still stand €15/ton ($19/ton) above the levels reported in early June. Lower operating rates on the producers’ side have yet to balance the market with sellers still complaining about demand being limited even though costs have come down, according to market sources.

In Asia, spot ethylene offers were down by $45/ton on a CFR Northeast Asia basis week over week. The current spot prices represent a large drop of $95/ton when compared to the start of June. Several market players attributed the ongoing bearish trend to sluggish demand from downstream markets.

In the US, the spot ethylene market moved downwards in the face of muted demand from PE producers. Week over week, spot ethylene prices lost 1 cent/lb ($22/ton) on FD USG basis. Now, players expect another round of decreases on the June ethylene contracts after the May ethylene contracts settled with a month over month decrease of 9 cents/lb ($198/ton).

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