Published On: Wed, Apr 8th, 2009

U.S. Markets 8-Apr-2009

Spot ethylene and polymer grade propylene traded higher Tuesday. Energies were lower while NGLs were mixed. Spot resin trading slowed and the open arbitrage remained the focus of attention.


Ethylene traded three times at 25 cpp for April, once in the Equistar system and twice in the Williams system. April previously traded at 23.875 cpp and 24.25 cpp, on Monday. There was also an April formula-based transaction today. The day ended with April bid at 24.25 cpp (Wms system) and offered at 25.5 cpp (Eq system) and 25.25 cpp (Wms system) against no bids. No May markets were heard. 2Q was bid at 24 cpp (Wms system) and offered at 25.5 cpp (Eq and Wms system). Formula-based markets were seen stretching out through 1Q 2010. In the contract market, an initial agreement was reported last week to decrease the March net transaction price by 1 cent, but this has not been reported as market-wide. Feb NTP was 32 cpp.


April PGP traded at 26.68 cpp. The day ended with April PGP offered at 26.75 cpp against no bids. Spot April PGP deal traded last week at 26.5 cpp. No spot chemical or refinery grade propylene deals were confirmed. RGP ended the day bid at 21.125 cpp for April against no offers. RGP last traded Monday at 22.75 cpp for confirmed pipeline delivery in April. In the contract market, participants confirmed settling April PGP and CGP contracts flat from March, keeping PGP at 29 cpp and CGP at 27.5 cpp.


In production news, Formosa’s olefins 2 cracker is expected to resume operation Wednesday, after going down April 1 for repairs. Shell’s GO-1 cracker in Norco is expected to restart in late April. ExxonMobil’s Beaumont olefins facility remains shut, and a restart date has not been disclosed. A cracker at Dow’s St. Charles site remains shut; a restart date has not been disclosed.


Energies were lower and NGLs were mixed. Crude oil was down $1.90 at $49.15/bbl. Natural gas fell 17 cents to end at $3.562/mmBtu. Ethane was flat at 35.625 cpg. Propane slid 0.75 cents to 63.75 cpg. Butane was a half-cent lower at 83 cpg. Iso fell 2.5 cents to end at 96 cpg. Natural gasoline gained 0.25 cents ending at 107.25 cpg. April benzene was up 7-12 cents at 200-202 cpg DDP and 200-203 cpg FOB. May was 201-204 cpg DDP and 202-205 cpg FOB. June was 204-206 cpg DDP/FOB.


Spot resin trading slowed Tuesday. Overall supply remains tight, with the focus remaining on strong demand from international markets, particularly China. Packaged material in Houston has recently been carrying a premium to domestic material as export traders look to take advantage of the arbitrage. Few deals are getting concluded this week as domestic buyers have not raised bids to compete with export prices, traders said. Market participants said that domestic demand remains poor, and most of the demand is for incremental supply requirements from processors who have maintained lean inventories. Export deals have slowed this week as bagging facilities in the Houston area fill up, traders said. Spot prices were roughly unchanged Tuesday.