June IPEX falls as all regional sub-indices drop

07 June 2012 16:29  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) has declined for the second consecutive month, with the June index falling to 335.37, its lowest level in the second quarter of 2012.

This represents a 6.8% decrease in the IPEX from its revised* May figure of 359.97, on weaker global chemical prices.

The lower June IPEX is primarily the result of a 10.7% drop in the Asian component of the index to the lowest since January. The steepest price drops were in the Asian butadiene (BD) price, by 31.1%, followed by the Asian ethylene price by 13.8%, and the propylene price by 11.7%.

The price decreases were due to continued weakness in demand and poor downstream market conditions.

The only Asian price increase was in methanol, rising by 3.9%, mainly due to tight supply and strong demand from India. It was recorded as the highest rise among all the 36 chemical products in the IPEX basket in all three regions.

The US component of the index fell by 3.0%, mainly on a 12.9% drop in the propylene price and an 8.4% fall in polypropylene (PP) prices. A 2.2% rise in the benzene price and a 1.5% increase in the methanol price held back the index decline. The downtrend in propylene and PP prices was driven by weaker market demand. In contrast, benzene and methanol price hikes were due to increasing demand and higher crude prices.

The European sub-index saw a 2.5% drop, as more than two-thirds of European chemical prices decreased in euro-terms and a 2.7% strengthening of the dollar in May compounded the decline. The greatest price declines were mainly in polymer prices, polyethylene (PE) by 4.7% and PP by 4.4%, followed by a 4.0% fall in ethylene, all in dollar terms.

Polymer demand in Europe was below expectations, leading to high stock and falling prices. Lower ethylene prices were the result of the current euro-zone debt crisis and growing US stocks. Benzene and styrene prices in dollar terms hiked by 3.7% and by 0.9% respectively, because of limited availability and minor recovery on crude futures.

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), PE, PP and polystyrene (PS).

*The May IPEX has been revised from 359.91 to 359.97, following settlement of the April US ethylene and styrene and Asian styrene contract prices. This month’s index is also subject to revision once the May US ethylene, styrene and PVC and Asian styrene contract prices settle.

June IPEX declines for second consecutive month

The revised historical IPEX data is available from ICIS on request
For a full methodology of the revised IPEX, visit http://www.icis.com/about/ipex/

Author: Alexandra Sukanegara

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ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)
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