March IPEX continues upward trend, 8.7% higher than Feb

06 March 2012 16:57  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The ICIS petrochemical index (IPEX) has increased further in March to 348.75, representing an 8.7% increase from its revised* February figure of 320.67.

The IPEX is now at its highest level since October 2011.

Most chemical products saw price increases in dollar terms, mainly in Europe and Asia. The European component of the index led the IPEX growth, firming by 12.5% in dollar terms, helped by a 2.9% weakening of the dollar against the euro.

The higher European sub-index was primarily because European butadiene (BD) prices surged by 17.2% in dollar terms from the previous month. BD production in Europe was restricted because of low crude C4 availability following cracker hiccups.

Most chemical prices in the US rose, with only ethylene and methanol prices holding back the 8.1% growth in the US component of the index. 

US propylene prices recorded the highest price rise, around 30% from last month, among all the 36 chemical products in the IPEX basket, followed by polypropylene (PP) with around an 18% rise. This was the result of some planned maintenance and unplanned outages in propylene production, hence sellers were holding on to inventories.

The Asian component of the index also saw a 7.5% climb to its highest since September 2011, reflecting increases in the region’s entire IPEX product basket. BD led the increases, up by around 22%, because of high demand in Asia following the Lunar New Year holidays and some cracker maintenance.

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), PP and polystyrene (PS).

IPEX March

 *The February IPEX has been revised from 320.12 to 320.67, following incorporation of the US January styrene contract. This month’s index is also subject to revision once the US February styrene contract settles.

The revised historical IPEX data is available from ICIS on request
For a full methodology of the revised IPEX, please click here

Author: Alexandra Sukanegara

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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