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US Jan ethylene drops 7% on lower spot, feedstock prices

February 03/2011

(ICIS) -- US ethylene contracts for January settled down by 3.25 cents/lb ($72/tonne, ?52/tonne), market sources said on Wednesday, pressured by lower spot prices and softer production costs last month. The decrease from December, which put the monomer at 45.25 cents/lb for January, was widely expected.


Market participants had predicted the monthly contract would drop by 2-4 cents/lb, citing lower spot prices and a drop in production costs throughout January.


US spot ethylene in January traded at 41.500-44.000 cents/lb, dropping from an average of 42.750-51.375 cents/lb in December, as assessed by ICIS. The decrease in January stemmed from a more balanced market, following tighter supply in the previous month.


Ethylene supply in November and December, particularly in the first half of that month, was constrained because of a series of US cracker outages in the fourth quarter. The drop in ethylene prices in January also reflected lower production costs, resulting from a decline in ethane prices.


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