November IPEX at seven-month high on Asia price improvement

11 November 2013 10:06  [Source: ICIS news]

Nov IPEX at seven-month high on Asia price improvementLONDON (ICIS)--Boosted by an Asian price improvement, the November ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) has moved to a seven-month high as it recorded a 0.5% rise on the revised October figure of 329.59*.

The Asian sub index saw a 1.6% rise but the same cannot be said for the European and US constituents of the Index, which could not capitalise on increases in October.

Asian butadiene (BD) prices are once again a significant component as they continued to strengthen, and are in line with the Global IPEX performance, displaying a seven-month high as well.

In the last week of the month, however, prices fell for the first time since mid-July following weaker demand amid adequate supply.

Of the other olefins, Asian ethylene prices strengthened by 7.1%, to their highest level since August 2008, but propylene dropped by 0.8%. The region was negatively impacted by six components of the 12 petrochemical IPEX product basket registering lower values, with styrene the worst of the components.

The European sub index suffered a 0.3% loss as a result of lower ethylene, propylene, toluene, benzene and styrene values.

A weaker dollar held back further falls. Ethylene prices fell on the sentiment of enough supply in the region despite the INEOS, Grangemouth, complex being put on cold standby for a large part of October in anticipation of possible union strike action.

BD and methanol were the best performers in Europe, with the latter displaying the highest values since March 2008. Reasons for the increase may be due to higher demand, after users who previously purchased less stock with the hope of lower future prices were forced to return to the market.     

The US performed the weakest of the three regions with only BD, methanol and polystyrene (PS) achieving better figures than last month. Toluene values were 12.1% down on last month and also the lowest since the end of 2011 due to weak downstream demand.  

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), polypropylene (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.

*The October IPEX has been revised from 327.97 to 329.59 following September contract settlements for ethylene, PE, styrene and PVC in the US and styrene and PX in Asia. This month’s index will be subject to revision once the October ethylene, styrene and PVC contracts settle in the US.

IPEX November 2013

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By: Faheem Behardien

By: Faheem Behardien
+44 208 652 3214

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ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)
ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index