Amidst Unplanned Plant Shutdown, Ethylene Prices Show Mixed Trends in the US and Europe
- 26-Apr-2023 1:01 PM
- Journalist: Jacob Kutchner
Ethylene prices have witnessed an oscillating trend across the USA and European markets during the third week of April 2023. In the USA market, Ethylene prices have gained downward momentum backed by dull buying sentiment coupled with ample product avail in the region. At the same time, in the European market, Ethylene prices have increased due to improved demand from the downstream industries. In addition, feedstock Naphtha prices have inched higher during this week, which positively impacted the production cost of Ethylene in the regional market.
Ethylene prices have dropped in the USA market, supported by sluggish offtakes and ample supply in the market. Operating rates have remained weak in the domestic market due to subdued consumption from the downstream industries. On the other side, demand from the downstream Polyethylene industry has remained lackluster while the adequate availability of material to cater to overall demand. In addition, market participants have further underlined the gloomy demand from the international market culminating in decreasing Ethylene prices. Moreover, a major manufacturer of Ethylene, Motiva Enterprises, restarted its 1,660 M Lbs/yr. LOU Ethylene unit in Port Arthur, TX. On April 1, 2023, the unit was turned down for unforeseen maintenance. On the other side, other manufacturers of Ethylene, Shintech Louisiana, remain shut down at its 1,100 M Lbs/yr. Ethylene unit in Plaquemine, Louisiana owing to compressor complications. Moreover, LyondellBasell and others have reported ample material availability in the domestic market. Thus, prices of Ethylene FOB US Gulf were settled at USD 550/MT with a week-on-week decrement of USD 20/MT during the week ending April 21.
However, in the European market, Ethylene prices have increased marginally due to improved buying trends among the end-user while supply dynamics remained healthy despite supply chain disruptions happening all over Europe. On the other hand, demand for Ethylene from the downstream Polyethylene industries has raised slightly in the domestic market, which boosted the prices of Ethylene in the domestic market. Although market participants reported, import flow has been steady on the European ports as demand in the Asian market remained sluggish and Asian exporters looked to send material onto European shores to take advantage of better arbitrage. This has resulted in ample material availability in the regional market owing to firm imports and stable production rates. In addition, Versalis France SA continues with an unplanned shutdown of the 837 M Lbs/yr Ethylene unit at the Dunkerque Nord Petrochemicals Plant, France. The unit was forced to shut down in mid-December 2022 amid fire incidents and it is expected to restart in late April 2023. Thus, prices of Ethylene FD Hamburg were assessed at USD 890/MT with a weekly increment of USD 10/MT during the previous week.
As per the ChemAnalyst anticipation, “Ethylene prices are expected to rise slowly in the USA and European market due to stagnant demand from the downstream Polyethylene and Glycol value chain industries.”