February ICIS Petrochemical Index falls by 11%

03 February 2009 21:02  [Source: ICIS news]

Economic woes drag down IPEXHOUSTON (ICIS news)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) for February fell by 11% to 156.74, reflecting continued economic weakness but a slower rate of price decline in global chemical markets.

The IPEX dropped by a record 27% in December and by 17% in January. The current index is the lowest since December 2003, when it was 151.61.

Globally, four of the 12 products in the IPEX portfolio rose in the past month, led by benzene, with a gain of 27%, and toluene, which increased by 10% despite weaker prices in Europe.

Sources said US benzene and toluene prices edged up, partly due to lower operating rates and less import business.

Other risers were ethylene, up by 6%, and its derivative polyethylene (PE), which gained 2%.

The biggest decliner was butadiene (BD), which plunged globally by 44% on continued weak demand and a drop in feedstock costs.

Despite propylene price gains in the US and Asia, global pricing fell by 26%, which reflected a steep drop in Europe as the region shifted to monthly settlements from quarterly contracts.

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.

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

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By: Larry Terry
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ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)
ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index