U.S. Markets 19 March 2009
Price ideas were steady for spot ethylene and propylene Wednesday. NGLs were mostly higher and spot resin trading was slow.
No fixed-price spot deals were confirmed. An April-July ethylene strip and a 2Q strip both traded on a PCW index basis. Several bids and offers were seen for formula and index-based deals throughout the day stretching through Dec 2009. For fixed-price markets, the day ended with March bid at 23 cpp (Choctaw system) against no offers. April was bid at 18 cpp and offered at 24 cpp. 2Q was bid at 17 cpp (Eq and Wms system) against no offers. The last fixed-price ethylene deals were done March 13 ant 23 cpp, 23.5 cpp and 24 cpp.
No spot propylene transactions were confirmed. The day ended with March refinery grade propylene offered at 22 cpp against no bids. 2Q RGP was bid on an index basis against no offers. RGP last traded March 13 at 20 cpp for pipeline delivery.
In production news, several steam crackers have restarted this month. Most recently, Dow resumed operations this week at its LHC-8 cracker in Freeport after taking it down in early Feb for repairs. Formosa, Sasol and Shell have also restarted crackers this month. Westlake plans to restart its Petro 1 cracker in Lake Charles on March 20. A complete list of outages is attached as a separate PDF.
Energies were lower and NGLs were mostly higher. Crude oil fell $1.02 to end the day at $48.14/bbl. Natural gas was down 13 cents at $3.684/mmBtu. Ethane rose 0.875 cents to end at 31.75 cpg. Propane gained a half-cent to finish at 65.5 cpg. Butane was a quarter-cent higher at 80 cpg. Iso rose 5 cents closing at 90 cpg. Natural gasoline fell 1.25 cents to end the day at 97.75 cpg. March benzene was 5-6 cents higher at 132-136 cpg DDP/FOB. April ended at 137-139 cpg DDP and 138-140 cpg FOB. May was 141-143 cpg DDP.
Spot resin trading was slow today as buyer and seller ideas remained far apart. Overall pricing edged lower. Processors have become increasingly reluctant to take on any additional inventory. Some noted that inventories are building. Sellers, however, have slightly lowered offers from levels seen at the beginning of the month, but have been reluctant to lower prices further. Few deals are being concluded. Generic prime railcars of PE are mostly in the low 40s cpp and PP is in the low-to-mid 30s cpp.