Price and market trends: May IPEX falls 4.7% from April to hit eight-month low

17 May 2013 09:52  [Source: ICB]

BD prices fell by nearly 20% in April and to the lowest level since November 2009

The May ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) fell by 4.7% from the revised April 335.92* figure, representing a steeper fall than last month with the index now standing at an eight-month low.

All regional sub-indices of the IPEX decreased, continuing on from last month's trend.

BD LEADS ASIA FALL
The Asian component of the IPEX tumbled by 5.7% on the back of a 5.6% fall in the olefins sub-index as butadiene (BD) prices continued their downward movement for the second consecutive month.

BD prices fell by nearly 20% in April and to the lowest level since November 2009. Demand is subdued as downstream markets remain weak. Other Asian chemicals reported falls apart from styrene, where prices edged up.

In the US, a 4.5% drop in the index was attributed to the olefin sub-index falling by 7%. Propylene, and also polypropylene (PP), prices both crashed as a result of higher propylene production costs and tentative PP buyers.

Europe paraxylene (PX) faces downward pressure as demand remains low. This was evident from April figures, which revealed a 5.5% lower aromatics index for the region despite lower production costs.

The European index fell by 2.7% after taking into account a 0.6 % weakening of the dollar. This region displayed three chemical price increases this month. In dollar terms, BD prices rose by 0.6%, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was up by 1.5% and methanol, the highest climber of all world chemicals in the IPEX basket, increased by 6.1%.

The IPEX provides an independent indicator of average change in world petrochemical prices, using 12 essential petrochemical products.

*There has been a revision to the April IPEX from 338.44 to 335.92 following March contract settlements for ethylene and styrene in the US and for styrene and PX in Asia. This month's index is subject to revision once US contract prices settle for ethylene, styrene and PVC.


By: Faheem Behardien
+44 208 652 3214



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