INTERACTIVE: Global IPEX for March edges higher on crude prices, terminal fire

Author: Nigel Davis


LONDON (ICIS)--The Global ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) edged higher in March as oil price rises in February fed through into contract prices for olefins and aromatics in northwest Europe. The Northwest Europe IPEX was up 2.81% as a result while the indexes in other regions marked time.

The ITC storage terminal fire in the US in mid March had a major impact on aromatics prices, toluene particularly, with some knock-on effect in Europe.

Price increases in March were driven by:

- Fire at a major terminal in Deer Park, Texas, disrupted aromatics markets and other product markets later due to Houston Ship Channel congestion

- Northwest Europe benzene prices up largely on higher crude prices and re-stocking

Price decreases in March:

- Northeast  Asia down on ample supply

- US ethylene down on lower ethane and butane prices

- US propylene down on supply length. Strong production from crackers processing heavier natural gas liquids (NGLs)

IPEX IPEX Value February to March change
Global 235.88 0.73%
US 230.47 0.32%
Northwest Europe  275.32 2.81%
Northeast Asia 222.90 -0.05%

Major price rises in March

Commodity Region Month on month rise
Toluene US 13.8%
Benzene Northwest Europe 11.7%
Toluene Northwest Europe 7.4%

Major price falls in March

Commodity Region Month on month fall
Propylene US -7.8%
Polypropylene US -5.1%
Ethylene Northeast Asia -4.7%

Global and regional IPEX data are available here
The ICIS Petrochemical Index methodology is available here

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.

The index values are subject to change as some monthly contract prices settle retrospectively. Yet to settle or at rollover for March are prices for US butadiene, US styrene, US polyethylene and US polyvinyl chloride.