U.S. Markets 1-Apr-2009
Spot refinery grade propylene traded higher while polymer grade propylene traded flat. Ethylene traded lower and an initial April contract agreement emerged. NGLs were mixed and resin trading was active.
Polymer grade propylene traded at 26.5 cpp for April. PGP last traded Tuesday at 26.5 cpp. No spot PGP bids or offers were confirmed at the end of the day. Refinery grade propylene traded at 21.125 cpp for April for confirmed pipeline delivery. The day ended with April RGP bid at 20 cpp against no offers. The last confirmed pipeline RGP deals were at 20.375 cpp and at 20.5 cpp, done on March 24.
Ethylene traded at 23.75 cpp for April in the Williams system. The last April ethylene trade was done Tuesday at 24.125 cpp in the Equistar system. April ethylene in the Williams system previously traded a week ago at 23.5 cpp and 24.125 cpp. The day ended with April bid at 23 cpp and offered at 24.5 cpp. May was offered at 25.5 cpp against no bids. 2Q was offered at 25.5 cpp against no bids. In the ethylene contract market, an initial agreement was reported to decrease the March NTP price by 1 cpp. A market-wide settlement has not been reported. Feb settled at 32 cpp.
In production news, Formosa’s olefins 2 cracker at Point Comfort was in the process of shutting down Wednesday to make minor repairs to the cooling system. The unit is expected to resume operations on April 8. ExxonMobil’s Beaumont olefins unit remains shut and a restart date has not been disclosed. One of Dow’s St. Charles crackers remains shut; a restart date has not been disclosed. Shell’s GO-1 cracker is expected to restart in mid-to-late April.
In industry news, Solutia said it reached an agreement to sell its Nylon business to an affiliate of SK Capital Partners. The sale includes Solutia’s Chocolate Bayou facility, which manufactures acrylonitrile among other products. Chemical grade propylene is a key raw material in producing acrylonitrile.
Energies were lower and NGLs were mixed. Crude oil fell $1.27 ending at $48.39/bbl. Natural gas was 8 cents lower at $3.695/mmBtu. Ethane rose a half cent ending at 33.75 cpg. Propane was down 2.5 cents at 62 cpg. Butane shed 2.25 cents to end the day at 80.75 cpg. Iso fell 3.5 cents to 95.5 cpg. Natural gasoline closed at 101 cpg, down 1.375 cpg. April benzene price ideas eased 1-2 cpg to end the day bid at 168 cpg and offered at 172 cpg. May was bid at 169 cpg and offered at 175 cpg.
Spot resin trading was active Wednesday, traders said. PE prices were steady to lower Wednesday while PP spot prices were higher. Inventories remained slim across the chain and prices have been supported by a recent surge in export demand, particularly to China. Secondary spot market prices for HDPE injection and LLDPE film were in the low-to-mid 40s cpp range. HDPE blow mold slid about a half cent, trading in the upper 30s to low 40s cpp. HoPP was in the mid-to-high 30s cpp, and CoPP remained at about a 2-cent premium.