Lyondell Chemical's term loan "E" dipped below par last week, trading as low as 98 1/2 before ticking back up to the 99 level on Thursday. Dealers said the name had traded in small pieces south of par because of general concerns with the chemical sector. "Chemical companies are taking a beating," one trader said, noting that rising prices for crude oil and raw materials were causing some of the pressure.
Lyondell's falling levels created quite a buzz in the slow summer environment. "People get emotional when there's movement below par, especially when the paper had been trading in the neighborhood of 101 not too long ago," another trader said. A spokesman for the company declined to comment.