IPEX falls to a six-month low in October

04 October 2011 16:15  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) has fallen to 352.05 in October, its lowest value since April, representing a 3.9% weakening of the IPEX from its revised* September figure of 366.30.

A weakening of the IPEX was seen in all regions; however, the western Europe sub-index fell the most, by 6% in dollar terms, which was partially exaggerated by a 4.4% strengthening of the dollar against the euro over the period. The northeast Asian sub-index followed, falling by almost 5%, while the US dropped by a meagre 0.3% in comparison.

Butadiene (BD) plummeted significantly in all three regions, after seeing huge upward price movements in recent months. The biggest BD price fall, of almost 18%, was seen in Asia, as there was weak demand from the downstream buying segments – a response to weaker consumption of manufactured goods.

Benzene prices fell in all three regions, with Europe showing the largest decline, with euro prices down by 7.6% – a stark contrast to last month’s 18% price surge in the same region – and having a knock-on effect on downstream styrene, with euro prices down by 3.2%.

Paraxylene (PX) saw the only price hike of all the IPEX product groups, with all regions seeing gains, and the US and Asia both up by around 7%. Price increases are the result of a tight supply due to multiple turnarounds in Asia, with European and US markets driven by Asian values.

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).

October 2011 IPEX graph

* The September IPEX has been revised from 366.06 to 366.30, following incorporation of the US August styrene and PVC contracts. This month’s index is also subject to revision once the US September styrene and PVC and Asian styrene contracts settle.

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

Author: Afsar Hussain

By: Staff Reporter
+44 20 8652 3214

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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