03 October 2007 22:44 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) for October was virtually unchanged at 273.63 points, just a shade lower than the September reading of 273.69, global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing reported on Wednesday.
The index was up 0.2% from 272.95 points a year earlier. The latest month saw an even split between the 12 petrochemical grades in the IPEX basket, with six rising and six falling.
The most significant gain was a 7.4% jump in global methanol prices, led by a 20.5% surge in Asia.
World methanol supplies have been constrained in part by shortages of natural gas feedstock for Canadian producer Methanex's world-scale production facility in Chile, which has been running at only 21% of nameplate capacity.
Argentina's unusually cold winter and a labour dispute led to restrictions on natural gas supplies for export and for the country's own chemical industry.
Methanol contract nominations announced last week were seeking massive hikes of more than 70% in some regions.
Among the weakening commodity chemicals, paraxylene (PX) was a notable decliner as it dropped 5.8% globally, including a 7.6% drop in the US.
US PX prices peaked near the start of the driving season in the northern hemisphere summer, as a seasonal rise in gasoline prices exerted upward pressure on the aromatics pool.
Published at the beginning of each month, the IPEX provides an independent indicator of average change in world petrochemical prices.
Dating back to January 1993, historical ICIS prices for a basket of 12 essential petrochemical grades in the US, western Europe and the northeast Asian markets have been weighted by regional nameplate capacity to generate a monthly index value.
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