US December ethylene contracts settled at a 53-month low, as per sources in ICIS. Sources confirmed the December settlement at 38.25 cents/lb ($843/tonne), down by 7.25 cents/lb from 45.50 cents/lb for November. The drop puts contracts at their lowest since settling at 37 cents/lb for the month of July 2010.
The drop in spot prices was largely fueled by declining global energy markets, which made overseas derivatives more competitive and forced US sellers to lower prices. This led to less demand for ethylene, which pushed the market longer, especially as several cracker restarts in the fourth quarter boosted supply.