07 February 2012 11:11 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The ICIS petrochemical index (IPEX) for February has recovered to 320.12, compared with the revised* January figure of 300.95, representing a 6.4% strengthening of the index.
All sub-indices of the IPEX improved, with the biggest price increases in all three regions being for aromatics, with an average of just over 10%.
The largest price increases were for benzene, with Europe having the biggest movement of around 25% in dollar terms, despite a 2.4% strengthening of the dollar against the euro.
The upward price movements were largely crude driven, as there were supply concerns connected with tensions in both Iran and Nigeria.
There was pressure for downstream sector styrene to edge up with benzene, even though demand in key end-use sectors was relatively lacklustre. Even further downstream, polystyrene (PS) prices were up, following growing positivity in key markets.
The Asian component of the IPEX saw the strongest growth again in January, firming by 8.0%, followed by the US at around 6% and Europe with around 3% growth in dollar terms.
The Asian index was boosted the most by rebounding prices for butadiene (BD), which increased by 23.3% as a result of limited spot availability because of unplanned cracker outages in India and a heavy cracker turnaround scheduled in March and April.
The weakest price increases and the most significant price drops were seen in the polymers sub-index, with an overall increase of only 1.2%. Polypropylene (PP) was the only chemical price to weaken in all three regions, following oversupply in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Published at the beginning of each month, the IPEX provides an independent indicator of average change in world petrochemical prices.
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* The January IPEX has been revised from 300.82 to 300.95, following incorporation of the US December ethylene, styrene and PVC and Asian styrene contracts. This month’s index is also subject to revision once the US January styrene contract settles.
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