ICIS IPEX rises 6.4% in March, snaps six-month plunge

03 March 2009 19:54  [Source: ICIS news]

IPEX rises 6.4%HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) for March rose by 6.4% to 166.75, with a stronger US dollar and feedstock values helping arrest a spectacular six-month plunge that reduced the indicator by more than half.

Until March's bounce, the IPEX had lost 59% of its value since peaking at 379.74 in August, amid sliding energy values and evaporating chemical demand as a global economic recession deepened.

Nine of the 12 products in the IPEX portfolio rose in March on a global basis.

The leader was paraxylene (PX) with a 20% jump, mainly due to a 32% gain in Asia. Strengthening demand was noted among some end-users in that region.

Propylene was also a significant gainer, rising by 17% on a global basis. Improving demand and tightening supply in the US Gulf boosted values in that region by 27%.

In the three declining chemicals, butadiene (BD) lost 1.7%, methanol slipped by 0.8%, and ethylene fell by 0.2%. All three posted gains in Asia that were offset by lower or flat pricing in the US and Europe.

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, styrene, methanol, butadiene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (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