Europe price increases boost October IPEX, rises 4.6%

02 October 2012 17:07  [Source: ICIS news]

By Anna Jagger

LONDON (ICIS)--The October ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) rose by 4.6% compared with the previous month, driven by price increases in Europe.

The IPEX reached 323.23, its highest level since June, from the revised* September figure of 309.07.

The European IPEX component rose by 10.4%, aided by a 4.0% weakening of the dollar. Growth was driven by strong price increases for olefins and polymers.

European ethylene and propylene contracts settled higher in September, driving up prices for polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). The ethylene contract settled €125/tonne ($160/tonne) higher and the propylene contract was up €105/tonne. The higher olefins prices reflect the recent spike in naphtha costs and the need to boost cracker margins.

The olefins sub-index for Europe soared by 14.1%, while the polymers sub-index was 14.3% higher and the aromatics sub-index was up 5.1%.

For the US, the IPEX climbed by 1.0%. A strong fall in prices for benzene and butadiene (BD) was outweighed by significant improvements for paraxylene (PX), PE and polystyrene (PS).

The US olefins sub-index was approximately unchanged but the aromatics sub-index fell by 1.4%. For polymers, the sub-index was 3.4% higher.

The Asian IPEX component rose by 3.7%, led by significant price hikes for ethylene, as well as for PE and PX. Spot ethylene values rose by $106/tonne in September compared with August. Prices peaked in mid-September but were declining towards the end of the month as plant restarts improved ethylene supplies.

The Asia sub-indices for olefins and polymers both grew by 5.2%, while the aromatics sub-index increased by 4.2%.

Published at the beginning of each month, the IPEX provides an independent indicator of average change in world petrochemical prices. The IPEX product basket comprises ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, PX, styrene, methanol, BD, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), PE, PP and PS.

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 September IPEX has been revised from 307.77 to 309.07, following settlement of the August contracts for ethylene, styrene and PVC in the US and for styrene in Asia. This month’s index is also subject to revision once the August US ethylene, styrene and PVC and Asia styrene contract prices settle.

IPEX October 2012

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

($1 = €0.78)

By: Anna Jagger
+44 20 8652 3214

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