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US ethylene margins sustain uptrend on supply, lower feeds

November 23/2010

(ICIS) -- US ethylene margins remained at their highest level in seven months during the week ended 19 November on tight monomer supply and lower feedstock prices, the ICIS margin report showed on Monday.


Ethylene margins were at 26.06 cents/lb ($575/tonne, ?420/tonne) last week, up by 7% from 24.39 cents/lb in the week ended 12 November, using ethane as a feedstock. Mont Belvieu ethane ended Friday at 63.00 cents/gal, down by 5% from 66.00 cents/gal a week earlier.


The drop in the feedstock price was accompanied by a 2% gain in the price of spot ethylene.


November ethylene traded at 53.50 cents/lb in the week ended 19 November, up from an average 52.50 cents/lb a week earlier, as the market continued to deal with constrained supply caused by recent cracker outages.


December ethylene prices were steady at 51.00-52.00 cents/lb, while first-quarter material was transacted at 45.75 cents/lb, up from 43.00 cents/lb a week earlier.


US ethylene spot prices surged by nearly 30% in the first week of November, after INEOS experienced a major disruption at its Chocolate Bayou complex in Texas. The companys two crackers at the site went down on 1 November following a lightning strike. INEOS began to restart one of the units on Friday, but the second cracker will not resume operations until mid-December, according to market sources.


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