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Asian monoethylene glycol spikes to three-month high, but margins remain negative

Singapore — Asian monoethylene glycol rose $11/mt day on day to be assessed at$942/mt Thursday, the highest since September 12 when it was assessed at$949/mt, S&P Global Platts data showed.

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From a week earlier, the CFR China MEG price was up $22/mt.

Asian MEG has been rising through the week amid tighter spot supply aswell as rising Western crude oil futures.

February ICE Brent futures were assessed at $66.62/b Thursday, up $2.01/bfrom a week earlier, Platts data showed.

Asian MEG margins on a spot basis, however, remained in negativeterritory at minus $36/mt Thursday, compared to minus $35/mt on Wednesday.Asian MEG production margins remained under pressure amid high ethylenefeedstock prices.

Asian ethylene was firm this week, with the CFR Northeast Asia markerassessed at a 10-month high of $1,380/mt Thursday, Platts data showed. It islikely to continue firm in the near term on strong spot demand and slow termcontract negotiations.

Market sources said that ethylene term contract negotiations are likelyto carry on till February as end-users were reluctant to accept the highoffers from suppliers. Initial ethylene term contract offers for 2018 were ata premium of $80/mt based on a CFR Northeast Asia-related formula, around$30-35/mt higher than a year earlier.

Asian MEG prices are likely to ease in January as demand is expected towane once downstream polyester plants shut for maintenance and due to aseasonal lull during the Lunar New Year holidays, market sources said. Pricesmight rebound in late February on post-holiday demand as well as tight supplyahead of the maintenance season in the second quarter.

--Fumiko Dobashi, fumiko.dobashi@spglobal.com

--Edited by E Shailaja Nair, shailaja.nair@spglobal.com