05 March 2013 18:11 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Global chemical prices rose by approximately 1.9% in February compared with January, lifted by a strong rise in olefins prices in Asia, according to the March ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX).
The IPEX, which tracks changes in global prices in dollar terms for a basket of 12 petrochemical products, reached 347.68 for March from a revised February figure of 341.08*.
The Asian component of the index had the largest hike, rising by 3.1%, mainly boosted by increased olefins prices and also soaring butadiene (BD) prices in the month of February.
BD prices had racked up gains of 24% by mid-February from the start of the year, but prices are expected to stop rising soon as the spikes were largely driven by speculative trades and not underpinned by end-user demand.
The US component of the index rose by 1.4, as the olefins sub-index rose by 4.2% off the back of a significant increase in propylene prices. Polymers made price gains of 2.4%, mainly on higher polypropylene (PP) prices, while the aromatics sub-index sank by 1.4%.
The European IPEX component remained flat after taking into account a 0.8% weakening of the dollar. Lifts in propylene and polymer prices were offset by falls in aromatics prices.
Published at the beginning of each month, the IPEX provides an independent indicator of average change in world petrochemical prices. The IPEX product basket of 12 essential petrochemical products comprises ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, paraxylene (PX), styrene, methanol, BD, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), PP and polystyrene (PS).
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*The February IPEX has been revised from 340.88 to 341.08 following settlement of the January styrene contract price in the US. This month’s index is also subject to revision once the contract prices settle for ethylene, PE and styrene in the US.
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