The US propylene market is looking bearish for the second half of 2017 as a major capacity addition in the US Gulf Coast is expected to further lengthen supply and lead to more exports, which have already been on the rise. From January to April, the most recent month for which data is available, the US exported 143,324 mt of propylene, a 15% increase over the same period last year, according to the US International Trade Commission. Startup of Enterprise Product Partners’ 750,000 mt/year propylene-capacity unit in Mont Belvieu, Texas is expected sometime during Q3. Completion of the propane dehydrogenation unit, only the third of its kind in North America, has suffered repeated delays. It was originally scheduled for completion in Q3 2015. In fact, some trader sources pointed to these delays earlier in the year to explain, at least in part, why spot and contract pricing shot up on tightness resulting from planned and unplanned outages in the US Gulf Coast region during Q1. Spot refinery-grade propylene rose nearly 180% from January to a 27-month high of 46 cents/lb ($1,014.11/mt) on a delivered basis in early March; polymer-grade propylene, a higher-purity grade that typically commands a 10-12 cent/lb premium
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Source: CTRM Center