14 May, 2018
Spot ethylene prices across major global markets retained their decreasing trend in the face of ample supplies last week, remaining unresponsive to the ongoing rally in the energy complex. The bearish run of ethylene in the US continued to keep global markets under pressure.
In the US, spot ethylene prices recorded a new round of decreases last week to hit a fresh record low since supplies remained abundant amid high run rates at regional crackers as well as a series of new capacity additions. The US is readying to welcome more than 4 million tons/year of new ethylene capacity in the second half of this year.
Data from ChemOrbis Price Wizard reveal that spot ethylene prices on FD USG basis have posted a cumulative decrease of around $350/ton since the downturn kicked off in mid-January. On the other hand, crude oil futures have recently hit their highest levels since November 2014 given the US administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
WTI crude oil futures climbed almost $6 on a monthly comparison to $71.36/barrel on May 10 while ICE Brent crude increased around $6.5 over the same period to close at $77.47/barrel on May 10. In the meantime, spot naphtha prices in Asia and Europe have followed suit, recording cumulative gains of $65-70/ton since early April to recently hit their highest levels since November 2014.
The spot ethylene markets in Asia and Europe have also defied bullish energy costs and tracked a mostly softening trend for the past three to four weeks in the face of ample supplies as well as the slump in the US. Data indicate that spot ethylene prices on CFR Far East Asia basis have cumulatively dropped by around $105-110/ton since mid-April while the European spot market has lost €75-80/ton when compared to the second week of April.