Prices for the chemical building block ethylene dropped to
nearly 50 cents/lb at the end of November, their lowest level
since early August, according to a new chemical industry report
from PetroChem Wire.
The fall reflected ample supplies and slower sales volumes for
the key plastic derivative, polyethylene, the analysts
US ethylene prices ended November at 50.375 cents/lb, down from
54.5 cents/lb at the end of October and close to the previous
low on August 9 of 50.125 cents/lb.
On a cents-per-gallon basis, the November price decrease is
equal to a 12.25-cent decrease during the month.
Ethane and propane, two of the raw materials used to make
ethylene, also saw price decreases in November. The ethane
price fell by 5 cents/gal and propane fell by 15.5
North American polyethylene sales slowed and inventories
increased in the beginning of the fourth quarter following very
strong sales during the summer months. June, July and August
were the strongest three-month period for US polyethylene sales
Hurricane Sandy contributed to the more recent domestic resin
sales slowdown as Northeast plastics converters' operations
were temporarily disrupted in late October and early
"The approach to the end of the year is usually a slow time
for sales as many companies seek to keep inventories lean in
December. Without a dramatic supply interruption, the drift
lower throughout the chain is somewhat expected," said Kathy
Hall, PetroChem Wire's chief editor.
"However, as these markets evolve, we see more activity in
forward months. During November, the 2013 market was quite
active for ethylene. Prices for the first quarter of 2013 are
higher than they were for November and December."