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Spot ethylene prices turn up in global markets

  • 08/08/2017 (09:37)
Spot ethylene prices have been following a firming trend in major global markets for around three to four weeks on the heels of some planned and unplanned production issues as well as strong crude oil markets.

In Europe, spot ethylene prices have been on a firming note since-mid July, reaching the highest levels since mid-June, according to weekly average levels on ChemOrbis Price Wizard. The upcoming cracker shutdowns in the August-October period as well as the recent recovery in crude oil prices have already supported the spot prices. Meanwhile, Shell’s recent force majeure announcement on its ethylene output from its Moerdijk cracker last week after a fire at its Pernis refinery in late July also sparked the rally in prices.

In Asia, the gains in the spot ethylene market turned more visible last week with spot prices increasing by around $100/ton on a weekly basis. Limited availability from overseas markets was cited as the main reason behind the three-digit hikes in spot prices. According to weekly average levels on ChemOrbis Price Wizard, current spot prices on CFR FEA basis have indicated the strongest levels seen since late May.

In addition, Taiwan’s Formosa’s imminent maintenance shutdown at its No 3 naphtha-fed steam cracker in Mailiao around mid-August has been regarded another factor supporting the sentiment in the spot market.

In the US, spot ethylene prices recovered in the second week of July after dipping to the lowest levels since late January 2016, according to the weekly average data. Spot prices on FD USG basis have increased by around $80-85/ton during this period. Stronger demand ahead of the upcoming PE start-ups was blamed for the higher spot prices.

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