Ethylene supply in Asian market is expected to be more abundant in 2019 due to the reduction in the number of cracking units planned for shutdown and maintenance in Japan, the expansion of cracking capacity in Asia and the reduction in the start-up rate of downstream ethylene plants.
The supply prospects of ethylene cargo for ocean-going vessels in the Asian market are mixed in 2019. Exports from Europe may be limited by a series of cracking plant shutdowns and overhauls, while exports from the United States may increase with the launch of new export facilities in the fourth quarter.
By the end of 2018, ethylene spot prices in Northeast Asia were weak. The trading price in the fourth quarter of 2018 was less than $1,000 per ton (CFR Northeast Asia), much lower than the $1,200-1,400 per ton (CFR Northeast Asia) in January-September 2018.