Houston — US propylene inventory continued to build well above the 5 million-barrel mark, establishing a seven-year high, Energy Information Administration data showed Wednesday.
US non-fuel use propylene inventories for the week ending January 11 were at 5.453 million barrels, up 337,000 barrels from a week earlier.
Last week’s inventory levels also represented a five-week increase. Domestic inventory had not been at or above those levels since the week ending January 6, 2012, when they were at 5.633 million barrels.
The increase was in line with some market expectations heading into 2019 that unless there were any major propane dehydrogenation production issues, inventory levels would continue to build.
The increase in domestic propylene stocks came alongside slightly lower refinery utilization rates, however, which were down 1.5% at 94.6% last week.
The build in domestic inventory has pulled down propylene spot levels over the past four weeks. Current polymer-grade propylene spot levels were at 36.75 cents/lb FD USG, down from 38.25 cents/lb FD USG back on December 19.
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