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Propylene prices hit record high in Europe

December 23/2010

(ICIS) -- Firm feedstock costs and a strong US dollar has pushed the European propylene (C3) January monthly contract price (MCP) up 11.5% to a record high, while the ethylene (C2) contract price is the highest seen since the fourth quarter of 2008, market sources said on Friday.


Propylene settled at ?1,070/tonne ($1,408/tonne), up by ?110/tonne from December. The previous high was when the contract settled for the third quarter 2008 at ?1,015/tonne, although in May and June of this year contract prices hit ?1,000/tonne.


Ethylene was up by ?105/tonne to ?1,110/tonne for January, still some way below the record high of  ?1,228/tonne confirmed for the third quarter 2008.


The contracts, which settle on a free delivered (FD) northwest (NWE) basis, were first agreed late on 22 December by a major producer and a major integrated consumer. Remaining contract buyers and sellers were quick to follow.


Olefins producers were able to secure three-digit increases on both C2 and C3 because of  negative pressure on cracker margins and a tighter-than-expected supply and demand balance.


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