12 April 2013 09:54 [Source: ICB]
The global ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) for April has fallen by 2.7% to 338.44 compared with the March figure of 347.68* because of significant falls in chemical prices in Asia.
The global April IPEX was mainly affected by a 4.1% decline in its Asian component. In the region, the olefins sub-index dropped by 6.3%, partly as a result of huge downward price movements for butadiene (BD). In contrast to last month's large gains, BD prices have suffered from oversupply and weak end-user demand.
BD prices increased significantly in the US, partly contributing to only a 0.8% fall in the US component of the IPEX. BD prices soared by 10.5% because of tight supply in the market rather than greater demand. The gains in BD prices were more than offset by significant falls in propylene and polypropylene (PP). The European component of the IPEX fell by 1.3% after taking into account a 3.3% strengthening of the dollar. The polymers sub-index suffered the most as all polymer chemical prices in the IPEX fell in dollar terms, despite limited euro-denominated increases.
Producers were aiming to push polymer prices up in line with increased monomer contract prices, but the goals soon softened as it was made clear that demand would not support significant price hikes.
*There was no revision to the March IPEX following rollover settlements of the February ethylene, PE and styrene contract prices in the US. This month's index is subject to revision once the contract prices settle for ethylene and styrene in the US and styrene and PX in Asia.
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