Ethylene Price Trends and Forecast

Regional Price Overview

Get the latest insights on price movement and trends analysis of Ethylene in different regions across the world (Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa).

Ethylene Price Trends and Forecast

Ethylene Price Trends for the First Half of 2023

Asia

The price trends for Ethylene inclined in the Chinese domestic market during the initial months of the first quarter. After a long halt during the Lunar New Year holidays, the traders looked forward to stocking the product, which drove the demand for Ethylene. The end-stream polyethylene glycol sector also performed strongly, and the price trends for Ethylene inclined in the market. However, the prices declined towards the end of the first quarter as the production plants caught up with the inclining demand.

The production rates of Ethylene at one point surpassed the demand, and as a result, the inventories began to stockpile. With ample supply and weak demand from the downstream industries, the prices of Ethylene settled around 6263 RMB/MT in June’23 in the Chinese domestic market.

Europe

In the initial phase of 2023, the prices of Ethylene were stable in Europe, with a strong and consistent demand from the polyethylene sector and a strong supply of products to satisfy that demand. The rising feedstock prices led to the increase in the cost of production in addition to the high purchasing aptitude of buyers to replenish their stocks after a long tail of holidays. However, towards the end of the first quarter, the price trends of Ethylene began to decline gradually, and this trends was well followed till the end of the second quarter.

The main cause of this shift in sentiments was attributed to the drop in energy production costs, the poor performance of downstream industries, and a limited number of inquiries from the domestic and international markets.

North America

In North America, the price trends for Ethylene in the first two quarters of 2023 were adversely affected by the weak market sentiments of the polyethylene and glycol sectors. The prices were negatively impacted by the holiday season in the first quarter, so the overall market activities in the region slowed down. However, towards the end of the first quarter, the market gained momentum, and the prices began to incline. The performance of downstream industries also improved, and the demand from the end-user sector rose, leading to a surge in the prices of Ethylene.

Analyst Insight

According to Procurement Resource, the price trends for Ethylene are estimated to showcase a mixed sentiment in the coming months. The polyethylene glycol and glycol sector are expected to improve in the upcoming months, which will influence the demand and, in turn, the price trends trajectory of Ethylene.

Ethylene Price Trends for the Second Half of 2022

Asia

The demand for ethylene from the downstream industries was weak in the second half of 2022. The prices also suffered from the surplus supply of the product and rising covid cases. The production, trading, and operation sectors were thus negatively impacted and with the introduction of other market players offering cheaper options in the region, the price trends for ethylene declined in the Asia-Pacific region.

Europe

Polyethylene and glycol industries lost their momentum amid the rising inflation rates and high cost of production leading to a sluggish trends in the prices of ethylene. Along with this, the pressure from the ripple effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, fear of recession, and cheap imports from the Asia-Pacific region further aided the declining trajectory of ethylene prices.

North America

The downward trends in the prices of ethylene in the second half was majorly due to the rise in inventories and weak demand from the downstream sector in the North American region. The polyethylene and glycol chains were also disrupted by the growing recession which was also a major cause of increasing energy and natural gas rates. The stockpiling of the commodity along with uncertainties in the end-user market led to the decline in the prices of ethylene.

Analyst Insight

According to Procurement Resource, the price trends for ethylene are expected to suffer from sluggish demand, availability of cheaper imports, and rising global inflation in the upcoming quarter.

For the Second Quarter of 2022

Asia

During the said quarter, ethylene prices fell across the Asian market. Due to the increased volatility in the crude oil prices, the petrochemicals industry suffered. The Asian petrochemical market dwindled amid the recession fears, tightened supply, and lower market sentiment.

After the upliftment of covid-19 restrictions, the Chinese traders expected a turnaround in the market demand; however, no simultaneous rise occurred. The wait-and-see attitude from the downstream plastic makers and vast stockpiles of products in the market resulted in lower prices of ethylene.

The profit margins from producing Ethylene from naphtha dropped to 130 USD/MT from 450 USD in April 2022. Per ton price of ethylene averaged 1166-1176 USD CFR Northeast Asia and 1216-1226 USD CFR Southeast Asia in this quarter.

Europe

In line with the Asian counterpart, ethylene prices fell across the European domestic arena. Due to the European embargo on Russian oil, the market's watchful attitude caused the prices to fluctuate. The price averaged 1759-1768 USD/MT FD Northwest Europe and 1216-1226 USD/MT in the domestic market.

North America

The price of petrochemicals is highly dependent on the price of oil and allied products. Hence, the US domestic market followed similar global price trends for ethylene. High costs of inputs, tightened supply, and contractionary monetary policy by governments worldwide heightened the odds of recession which further caused the prices for petrochemicals to decline. The price of ethylene averaged FD 25.25 cents/lb in the said quarter.

Analyst Insight

According to Procurement Resource, ethylene prices are expected to stabilize with timely intervals of fluctuations, given the supply-demand dynamics. Currently, the upstream naphtha prices and the market sentiment are low, leading to lower prices. This environment will likely continue in the upcoming quarter, given that the other fundamentals remain healthy.

For the First Quarter of 2022

Asia

CFR Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia ethylene prices were 1346-1356 USD/MT and  1346-1356 USD/MT, respectively in March.

Europe

In Europe, the chemical was priced in the range of 1785-1794 USD/MT, down 5 USD/MT, while CIF northwest Europe price was 1540 USD/MT, up 5 USD/MT in the third week of March. The international crude oil futures price increased dramatically.

North America

On March 23, the market price was 625-642 USD/MT in the US ethylene market, down 24 USD/MT. The ethylene market in the United States has recently risen, demand has been widespread, and the price of international crude oil futures has risen dramatically.

The breakdown of the Caspian oil pipeline between Russia and Kazakhstan through OPC, which heightened fears of short-term supply tensions, was the main reason for this. On March 23, the main contract of WTI crude oil futures in the United States settled at 114.93 USD/barrel, up 5.66 USD or 5.2%. The main contract of Brent crude oil futures settled at 117.75 USD/barrel, up 5.29%.

For the Fourth Quarter of 2021

North America

After reaching an annual high of approximately 1250-1300 USD/MT in Q2 during the post-deep freeze period, when many refineries were forced to shut down or declare force majeure, spot prices reached 55% of the Q2 peak and settled at 765 USD/MT FOB Houston in the final weeks of December FY21. For the majority of Q4, the decline in natural gas prices contributed significantly to the decline in ethylene pricing.

Refineries reduced production from Q3 levels as active restocking and rerouting of shipments from Asia to Europe following the harsh frost created a surplus of C2 in the domestic markets entering Q4. Thus, supply exceeded demand throughout the most of the last quarter of 2021, adding to the downward pressure on pricing.

Asia

Asian ethylene market prognosis for Q4 FY21 was described as volatile for the most part, since the far east Asian market had a price spike in October, owing mostly to the region's import dominance. The average price for China in Q4 was estimated to be 1120 USD/MT on a CFR Shanghai basis. South-East Asia, too, had a similar pattern. The Middle East, on the other hand, had a steadier market for ethylene, with an average price of 1075 USD/MT FOB in Q4. Feedstock naphtha costs were also significantly higher in Q4 of FY21 compared to Q3 of FY21. India's ethylene prices, ex-JNPT, were roughly INR 81500 in Q4, a 13% increase over Q3 prices.

Europe

During the early half of Q4 FY21, the European market was harmed by supply-side limitations and rising freight costs. Imports from North America were quoted higher than the previous quarter, with average prices in North-West Europe evaluated at 1355 USD/MT FD Hamburg, a 10 USD/MT increase over the previous quarter. Demand from downstream polymers sectors such as polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride increased somewhat in Q4 compared to Q3, however demand from the majority of end user industries dwindled in December.

For First, Second and Third Quarters of 2021

North America

North America failed to meet the increased demand in Q1 2021, as some production facilities were forced to shut down due to force majeure and unscheduled shutdowns. The region experienced volatility in the pricing in second quarter, owing to fluctuating upstream crude prices and uncertain worldwide demand.

Economic revival resulted in a surge in demand for downstream polymers in the United States of America. While supply of downstream goods remained scarce due to limited plant operations, ethylene prices continued to rise throughout the quarter. Demand was stable until the end of the quarter.

In Q3 2021, ethylene prices in the United States of America began to decline after reaching record highs the previous quarter, aided by abundant supplies of the commodity as factories functioned at peak efficiency. Prices increased dramatically in mid-July across Texas and Louisiana, owing to the unanticipated disruptions.

In August, despite the Gulf Coast's climatic disaster, prices stabilized as a result of manufacturing plants restarting with little or no delay following the Ida Hurricane's aftermath. Thus, from July through September, FOB-US ethylene prices ranged between 1025 USD/MT and 910 USD/MT. Increased demand from downstream industries was expected to drive the prices higher in the coming months.

Asia

The Asian market faced high demand for ethylene and its derivatives from downstream industries, which boosted its prices considerably. In China, demand soared unexpectedly during the lunar holidays, but constrained supply pushed prices higher. Due to increased demand from downstream product producers, a lack of supply increased the prices across the area.

In India, supply constraints in January and February boosted prices to 854 USD/MT, before falling to 828 USD/MT in March as supply activities improved. Several price swings occurred in the Asian market during the second quarter. In India, ethylene prices continued to be driven by demand-supply imbalances, pandemic revival, upstream crude pricing, and import-export activity. Thus, during the first week of June, ethylene prices in China and India were 690 USD/MT and 843.2 USD/MT, respectively.

In the third quarter, the Asian market experienced an exponential increase in the price of ethylene, fueled by an unprecedented increase in the price of the feedstock naphtha. Additionally, the Ida storm in the United States disrupted supply chains, resulting in the region's feedstock naphtha being unavailable.

In India, tighter supply resulted in product shortages on the domestic market, which contributed to the inflation of prices during this era. Thus, Ex Mumbai ethylene prices were estimated at 1022.59 USD/MT in India, following a 130.78 USD/MT increase between July and September.

Europe

The price trends in Europe as a whole stayed upward, owing to high demand and limited product availability. Downstream polymer prices continued to rise during this period due to insufficient spot supply in the face of stable to strong downstream end user demand. However, prices continued to fluctuate in response to shifting crude oil prices in the worldwide market, while the general forecast in the European market remained favorable throughout the quarter.

In Q3 2021, the European market for ethylene saw diverse attitudes across the area. Between July and August, a little increase in its price was noted, owing to the product's restricted availability and greater logistic expenses. However, in the second part of the quarter, the prices declined as a result of diminished consumer spending power and abundant supply in the region. FR Hamburg prices increased to 1002 USD/MT in August, indicating a minor increase of 4 USD/MT from July, followed by a 37 USD/MT fall in September.

South America

After Braskem cut operating rates at all of its naphtha and gas crackers in July, Brazil's ethylene inventory was more balanced, and polyethylene sales were lower than planned in August. In July, Braskem exported 15000 MT of the chemical cargo from Trinfo in Rio Grande do Sul, with 9000 MT going to China for 921 USD/MT FOB and 6000 MT going to the Netherlands for 1004 USD/MT FOB.

For the Year 2020

North America

Hurricane Laura disrupted ethylene cracker plants, resulting in lower average production. Despite lower demand and lower ethane prices in September, the prices were higher than natural gas due to market predictions of ongoing consumption growth and a rise in exports at the end of the year. Through September, spot ethylene prices in Mont Belvieu, Texas (the main US HGL hub) averaged 2.99 USD/MMBtu, a 1.07 USD premium over natural gas spot prices at Henry Hub, which averaged 1.92 USD/MMBtu.

Asia

The market was subdued to low when the third quarter began, owing to abundant supply and consistent demand. Ethylene prices fell sharply in the first half of the quarter, with July and August bids bidding about 750-800 USD/MT CFR Northeast Asia. However, as a result of many big manufacturers temporarily ceasing operations at the end of the third quarter to balance their inventory levels, supply began to tighten.

ExxonMobil, headquartered in Singapore, shut down its 1 million tpy cracker in mid-September until the end of October for long-overdue maintenance. Buyers in Southeast Asia preferred deep-sea and Middle Eastern origin cargoes to alleviate supply chain constraints. On the demand side, spot demand was strengthened by better PE operations in anticipation of a recovery of demand during numerous Asian nations' peak season.

Europe

In 2020, the price in Europe was 30% lower that is significant compared to 2019. During the same year, less significant declines were reported in the United States of America and the Middle East, 11.4% and 15 %, respectively. The global picture for 2020 sent a clear message that Europe continues to lag behind the United States and the Middle East in terms of competitiveness.

In 2020, Europe had the highest cash cost of the chemical .European margins, which topped 600 USD/MT at the end of 2020, were expected to remain steady in Q1 2021 and then decline to 300 USD/MT by the middle of the year. To take advantage of the strong margins, Western European output increased in 2020 compared to 2019, a trends that was anticipated to continue into 2021 barring unexpected disruptions.

Procurement Resource provides latest prices of Ethylene. Each price database is tied to a user-friendly graphing tool dating back to 2014, which provides a range of functionalities: configuration of price series over user defined time period; comparison of product movements across countries; customisation of price currencies and unit; extraction of price data as excel files to be used offline.

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About

Ethylene appears as a colourless gas with a sweet odour and taste. It is lighter than air. It is the simplest alkene and flammable in nature. It is extensively used in the industrial sector to produce polyethylene, a widely used plastic having polymer chains of ethylene units. It can also be hydrated to produce ethanol.

Product Details

Report Features Details
Product Name Ethylene
Industrial Uses Polymerisation, Oxidation, Intermediates, Halogenation and hydrohalogenation, Manufacturing, Plasticisers, Hydration and oligomerisation, Processing aid, specific to petroleum production
Chemical Formula C2H4 
Synonyms 74-85-1, Ethene, Green ethylene
Molecular Weight 28.05 g/mol
Supplier Database Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), Dow Chemical Company, LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V., INEOS Capital Limited, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC
Region/Countries Covered Asia Pacific: China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Iran, Thailand, South Korea, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Nepal, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, UAE, Israel, Hongkong, Singapore, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Australia, and New Zealand

Europe: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy,  Spain, Russia, Turkey, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Ireland Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Romania, Finland, Czech Republic, Portugal and Greece

North America: United States and Canada

Latin America: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru

Africa: South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco
Currency US$ (Data can also be provided in local currency)
Supplier Database Availability Yes
Customization Scope The report can be customized as per the requirements of  the customer
Post-Sale Analyst Support 360-degree analyst support after report delivery


Note: Our supplier search experts can assist your procurement teams in compiling and validating a list of suppliers indicating they have products, services, and capabilities that meet your company's needs.

Production Process

  • Production of Ethylene via Steam Cracking Process

In this process, ethane is used as a feedstock and is heated at a temperature ranging from 750 to 950 °C with steam.  This results in the conversion of large and complex hydrocarbons into smaller ones and further causes unsaturation, which finally produces Ethylene.

Methodology

The displayed pricing data is derived through weighted average purchase price, including contract and spot transactions at the specified locations unless otherwise stated. The information provided comes from the compilation and processing of commercial data officially reported for each nation (i.e. government agencies, external trade bodies, and industry publications).

Table Of Contents

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