LONDON (ICIS)--Falling petrochemical and polymer prices in the US and northwest Europe helped drive down the ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) for January.
Following a weaker end to 2018, the pricing environment persisted into the New Year.
Ethylene prices fell in the three regions – northwest Europe, northeast Asia and the US – month to month from September, although the average ethylene price in northeast Asia was higher in January.
Prices in northeast Asia, the more spot-driven market, eased higher as the Lunar New Year approached and on the back of stock building downstream.
The major downward price movements in January were posted for methanol and for benzene, the drop in the quarterly methanol price being a significant 18.2% from the fully settled fourth quarter price.
The price trend continues to be down with only a few product price increases for the month globally.
IPEX values are subject to change as some contract prices settle retrospectively and there have been changes to the regional IPEX values this month to reflect this in October, November and December 2018.
Contract prices for January have yet to be settled from polystyrene in Europe, styrene in the US and paraxylene in northeast Asia.
US polyethylene and US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices rolled over in January from December 2018.
|IPEX||IPEX Value||December 2018 to Janary 2019 change|
Major price rises in January 2019
|Commodity||Region||Month on month rise|
Major price falls in October
|Commodity||Region||Month on month fall|
The ICIS petrochemical index tracks the movement of 12 major petrochemicals and polymers: ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, toluene, paraxylene (PX), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), styrene, polystyrene (PS), methanol and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with the regional indexes weighted by capacity.