August ICIS IPEX index soars 8.5% on crude surge

05 August 2008 20:34  [Source: ICIS news]

IPEX rises on crude oil surgeHOUSTON (ICIS news)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) for August soared to 379.74, a gain of 8.5% over the July reading of 349.84, as chemical prices were yanked higher by the recent surge in crude oil.

The increase was the tenth straight gain in the index. In the last two months, the IPEX has jumped 16%, eclipsing the 11% increase seen in the wake of the US Gulf hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

NYMEX crude oil futures reached a record $147.27/bbl on 11 July, but have since cooled.

Ten of the 12 IPEX components rose in the month. The leading gainer was butadiene (BD), which globally rose by 29% amid tight supply and high upstream costs. The rate of increase was nearly even among the US, European and Asian markets.

Paraxylene (PX) was next with a 20% spike, driven largely by crude oil prices, the US summer driving season and rising global demand.

Propylene was the third-largest gainer with a 9.4% rise, reflecting continued tight supply and feedstock costs.

The two chemicals to decline were methanol, down by 1.6%, and toluene, down by 2.2%.

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 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.

The IPEX product basket comprises ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, PX, styrene, methanol, BD, PVC, polyethylene (PE), (PP) and polystyrene (PS).

For more on these chemicals, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Larry Terry
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