Propylene and ethylene traded higher Thursday in line with a recent bump in resin demand and gains seen in crude oil and NGLs.
Refinery grade propylene traded at 23 cpp for April. The last deals were done Wednesday at 22.75 cpp for April, and at 23.125 cpp for dated delivery in April. A small-volume CGP deal was done at 22.75 cpp for April delivery via truck. No spot polymer grade propylene deals were confirmed Thursday. The last confirmed PGP deal was done Wednesday at 26.5 cpp for April. The day ended with RGP bid at 21.5 cpp and offered at 23.5 cpp. PGP was bid at 26 cpp and offered at 26.75 cpp. No May markets were seen.
Ethylene traded at 25.5 cpp for April (Wms system). This is up from deals done Wednesday at 25 cpp and 25.25 cpp, also for April delivery. The day ended with April bid at 24.5 cpp and offered at 25.75 cpp. No May markets were seen. 2Q was offered at 25.25 cpp against no bids. Formula-based markets were confirmed stretching out through the first quarter of 2010.
In production news, Formosa has restarted its olefins 2 cracker in Point Comfort, after taking it down for repairs on April 1. Several other crackers remain shut. ExxonMobil’s Beaumont cracker and one of Dow’s crackers at St. Charles remains shut and restart dates have not been disclosed.
Energies were mixed and NGLs traded higher. Crude oil jumped $3.06 ending at $52.44/bbl. Natural gas slid 2 cents to $3.61/mmBtu. Ethane gained 0.875 cents to end at 36.875 cpg. Propane was up 1.625 cents at 66.375 cpg. Butane was 2.625 cents higher at 86.625 cpg. Iso was up 2.5 cents at 101 cpg. Natural gasoline finished the day up 1.75 cents at 109.25 cpg. April benzene slid 3 cents to end the day at 193-195 cpg DDP and 194-195 cpg FOB. May was 194-197 cpg DDP and 195-198 cpg FOB.
The spot resin market was active Thursday as exporters continued to work deals, mainly destined for Asia. Bagging facilities are reportedly working at capacity. Supply is said to be increasingly tight after months of reduced production rates in the US, and fresh railcar offers were becoming scarce. While US processors have kept inventories thin, few domestic deals have been seen this week as bids have not been raised to current export prices, traders said. Generic prime PP spot prices are in the low 40s cpp range, while PE has been trading in the low-to-mid 40s cpp.