Spot ethylene shifts in Asia, US; Europe hits 3-month low
Sept. 28, 2018
Spot ethylene prices in Far East Asia took a break from the downturn after hitting their lowest levels in four months. Spot prices on CFR Far East Asia basis stabilized in line with the improved demand in China, where buyers began to seek cargoes ahead of the week-long National Day holiday. Spot prices on FOB South Korea basis even witnessed a slight upturn amid short supplies.
Although the holiday, which falls in the first week of October, helped demand pick up in Northeast Asia, buying interest in Southeast Asia remained muted with spot prices extending their losses.
The spot ethylene prices in the US also changed direction recently. The market was on a six-week uptrend, which was driven by higher ethane feedstock costs. However, long ethylene supplies and weaker ethane prices on the week have lately pulled the market down.
In Europe, prices for spot ethylene saw a new round of decreases and broke below the 1000/ton threshold for the first time in almost three months. The market has been steadily losing ground since mid-August. Players argued that comfortable supplies have kept demand at a low level, paving the way for the weekly losses.
The downturn has been in place despite the fact that several producers are planning shutdowns at their crackers including BP, LyondellBasell, Unipetrol, Naphthachimie, and MOL in September and October. The Turkish producer Petkim is also readying to suspend operations at its ethylene unit in Izm?r, Turkey for maintenance.