Asian ethylene firms up, Europe falters
Spot ethylene prices hit a year-low in Asia in early September following a downturn of 13 weeks. Spot prices have been moving higher since then, with the average market level posting a cumulative increase of more than $150/ton.
The reason behind the increases of the past 6 weeks is mainly reduced availability. Some major crackers in China and South Korea are shut for maintenance and will be offline until November or December. Players in the region also highlighted that the recent gains of the ethylene market in Northeast Asia were larger than those of Southeast Asia.
The European market, on the other hand, came down this past week after following a steady trend of 3 weeks since the beginning of October. The region has been witnessing a downturn since early June in the spot ethylene market.
Players attributed the recent loss in ethylene prices following a stable period to slowing ethylene demand and expectations that the turnaround season in Europe will fade soon. Several crackers have either resumed operations after shutdowns or are expected to return in the near term, according to traders.
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