September IPEX rebounds thanks to strong Asian performance

04 September 2013 12:46  [Source: ICIS news]

Price riseLONDON (ICIS)--Higher Asian prices have helped the September ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) to regain lost ground. The overall index has risen by 1.9% from the revised August figure of 312.49*. The Asian index, which was the strongest performer of the three regional indices, grew by 3.0%.

The strongest performers in Asia were the polymers and butadiene (BD). The latter rebounded by over $200/tonne (€152/tonne) following a sharp drop – making it the month’s strongest performing product globally. Asian polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) all saw prices rise.

This comes in the context of encouraging indications for downstream demand in Asia, with the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for China rising for the second month running.

Helped by a 2.0% weakening of the dollar, the European sub-index recorded an increase of 2.0%. Polymers performance was strong, but BD continued its decline. BD prices were down by €250/tonne and have fallen by more than 50% in the last 10 months. In contrast to BD, European ethylene and propylene prices were higher, with demand unusually robust for the time of year and some cracker issues affecting supply.

The US figure is down by 0.5%, although several contract settlements are still outstanding. BD was the only product in the IPEX basket to fall in the US – it fell by over $500/tonne – dragging the regional index down. This was the weakest performer of any price, meaning that both the month’s strongest and weakest performers were BD prices.

The prices of both propylene and PP rose in all three regions. This was most notable in the US, where each went up by about $110/tonne.

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, PVC, PE, PP and PS.

Dating back to January 1993, historical ICIS prices for these products in the US, western Europe and northeast Asian markets have been weighted by regional nameplate capacity to generate the monthly index value.

IPEX graph September 2013

*The August IPEX has been revised from 312.42 to 312.49 following the settlements of July contract prices for ethylene, PX, PE, styrene and PVC in the US and styrene in Asia. The September index will be subject to further revision once August contract prices settle for ethylene, styrene and PVC in the US and for styrene in Asia.

($1 = €0.76)

Click here for regular chemical updates and to download global and regional ICIS IPEX data.

View  the full IPEX methodology here.

Author: Ciaran Healy



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