April IPEX continues rebound with 9.7% increase

07 April 2009 17:50  [Source: ICIS news]

Chemical prices reboundHOUSTON (ICIS news)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) for April rose by 9.7% to 182.93, as chemical prices continued a rebound on stronger feedstock values and recovering demand in some European and Asian markets.

The April gain built on a 6.4% increase in March that had ended a sharp decline during the previous six months.

Of the 12 products in the IPEX portfolio, methanol was the only one to weaken globally in April, losing 2.1%.

Although methanol values rose by 11% in Asia on demand recovery and speculative buying, prices fell by 1.8% in Europe and by 8.4% in the US, amid persisting weakness in the automotive and construction industries.

Globally, the top three gainers in the IPEX basket were benzene, up 38%; styrene, up 19%; and polystyrene (PS), up 14%.

Benzene soared 55% in Europe, while a pickup in downstream monomer demand hoisted styrene up by 36% in Asia. In the US, some short-term supply tightness due to production cutbacks pushed benzene and styrene prices up more modestly.

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, 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