Ethane continued its march toward 40 cents per gallon (gal) and the Mont Belvieu, Texas, hypothetical NGL barrel broke through $38 for the first time in 47 months in a holiday-shortened four-day week.

Higher demand from domestic crackers and rising exports have strained inventories and continue to push ethane’s price upward. Mont Belvieu ethane is up 83.2% for 2018, 45.7% since the end of the first quarter and 55.5% ahead of what it was last year at this time. Last week’s margin grew by another 7.55% to 19.49 cents/gal.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest data, released Aug. 31, show total U.S. stocks of ethane and ethylene declining by about 9% from January through June to 46.7 million barrels. The one-year decline is 9.7%.