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March ethylene contract begins to settle at steep drop

HOUSTON, April 3, 2017 (PCW) -- Parties settling monthly contracts have been confirmed to have reached a March ethylene contract price of 30 cpp, representing a 5.75 cpp decrease from February. Contracts began 2017 at 33.5 cpp; one year ago, the March 2016 contract price was 29.75 cpp. Contracts were last at or below 30 cpp in May 2016.

March spot ethylene ended the month at 29.5 cpp, trading in a range of 25.25-30 cpp during the month. The 30-day March ethylene calendar average was 27.527 cpp, down 5.65 cpp from February. The 30-day weighted average was 27.748 cpp for Texas, down 7.499 cpp from February, and 27.779 cpp for Texas and Louisiana combined, down 7.447 cpp. The 45-day ethylene weighted average for March ethylene was 28.034 cpp (basis Texas only), down 6.753 cpp from February and 28.087 cpp for Texas and Louisiana combined, down 6.72 cpp.

In terms of cash costs, ethane-based costs in the Gulf region in March averaged 9.279 cpp, down from 10.399 cpp in February. Propane basis costs in March averaged just 3.708 cpp, down from 13.225 cpp in February.

Overall Gulf Coast operating rates for ethylene units were 93.3% in March, compared with 91.9% in February. Nearly 365 million pounds of ethylene output was lost during the month due to outages.

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