US March ethylene contracts settled at a rollover, at 48 cents/lb (US$1058/ton), tracking balanced supply and demand levels, as per ICIS. This roll over has kept the US contract price unchanged in 2013. Although spot ethylene prices and feedstock costs increased in March, longer supply and steady demand kept contract prices steady.
Cash costs for ethylene production moved higher by roughly 1 cent/lb during the month, tracking stronger natural gas futures prices and steady demand from crackers.However, with mostly steady operations throughout March, US ethylene supply has started to lengthen, sources said. Additionally, demand for ethylene has been flat to slightly stronger, which has not provided enough support for higher prices.
Typically, the US ethylene contract is settled at the start of the month for the previous month.
Major US ethylene producers include Chevron Phillips Chemical, ExxonMobil, INEOS, LyondellBasell and Shell Chemical. Major buyers include Axiall, Dow Chemical, Occidental Chemical and Total.