November IPEX slumps to nine-month low

01 November 2011 17:08  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) has slumped to its lowest level since the February IPEX. The November IPEX is 323.79, down 7.7% from the revised October figure* of 350.98.

A weakening of prices was seen across all chemical group and regional sub-indices. The olefins sub-index decreased the most with a fall of 8.1%, while aromatics and polymer sub-indices experienced declines of 4.5-4.8%.

Asian chemical prices saw the largest downward movements, with the Asian IPEX falling by 9.1%, closely followed by the US IPEX, down 8.1%, while the European IPEX softened by 4.2% after accounting for a 1.0% weakening of the dollar against the euro.

Butadiene (BD) prices plummeted in all regions, reversing the gains from the first half of the year when BD prices soared to record highs. Asian prices collapsed by 27.9%, as offers were reduced in a bid to liquidate mounting stocks. US BD prices fell by 17.7% and European BD prices declined by 11.7% in dollar terms.

One of the few price rises was seen in European and Asian methanol prices, up in dollar terms by 7.8% and 3.2% respectively. Methanol traders took advantage of an arbitrage window to re-direct cargoes from the Middle East to Asia and to replace lost volumes from the relatively cheaper European market. Asian methanol prices firmed as stocking of physical inventory took place ahead of the initiation of methanol futures on China’s Zhengzhou futures exchange.

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, paraxylene (PX), styrene, methanol, BD, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS).

IPEX November 2011

* The October IPEX has been revised from 352.05 to 350.98, following incorporation of the US September styrene and PVC and Asian styrene contracts. This month’s index is also subject to revision once the US October ethylene, styrene and PVC and Asian styrene and PX contracts settle.

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

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