IPEX retreats for second month

03 August 2011 09:37  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) has decreased for the second month in a row, falling by 0.6% to 361.69 from the revised* July figure of 363.80. In US dollar terms, price decreases were seen in half of the basket of chemicals that the IPEX covers.

The western Europe sub-index fell the most, down by 4.2% in dollar terms for the month, partially impacted by a 0.2% strengthening of the dollar against the euro over the period. The US sub-index retreated by 1.0%, while the northeast Asian sub-index saw a gain of 1.4%.

Once again, the strongest price rises were seen in the butadiene (BD) group over the month, with gains of 7–8% seen in Europe and Asia and a surge of 15% seen in the US. If BD prices had held steady, compared with the previous month, the IPEX would be down by almost 2% month on month. BD prices are at all-time highs and reports are emerging that BD users are starting to reduce operating rates or close production facilities as high BD prices have made their operations unprofitable.

The largest falls were seen in US and European benzene prices, each down by almost 10%, while paraxylene (PX) prices experienced falls of 6–8% across all regions.

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 products in the US, western Europe and 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, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS).

The July IPEX has been revised from 364.35 to 363.80, following incorporation of the US June ethylene and styrene contracts. This month’s index is also subject to revision once the US July styrene and PVC and Asian styrene contracts settle.

*As of July 2010, the index has been revised retrospectively to replace latest available contract prices at the time of publication that had previously been used in the data series with actual settled contract prices. This has had the effect of moving the derived IPEX index from an estimated status to an actual status.

The revised historical IPEX data is available from ICIS on request
Click here for a full methodology of the revised IPEX

Author: Regan Hartnell

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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