May Global IPEX flat from April but 37% lower year on year

Author: Nigel Davis


LONDON (ICIS)--A rebound in ethylene and propylene prices in northeast Asia and the much higher Europe May benzene contract price helped stabilise the global ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) for the month.

The regional and global index values, however, remain sharply down compared to May 2019 as large parts of the world continue to suffer from the negative economic impact of lockdowns in the midst of the coranavirus pandemic.

Ethylene demand is stronger in China while supply has been tight for June cargoes. Downstream markets in China are performing better and higher naphtha costs, on the back of the rising crude oil price, helped drive market dynamics.

In Europe, the May benzene contract reacted to the upward push in crude.

IPEX IPEX Value April to May change
Global 147.27 -0.06%
US 143.78 -3.85%
Northwest Europe  184.72 -6.54%
Northeast Asia 134.10 6.33%

Major price rises in May

Commodity Region Month on month rise
Ethylene Northeast Asia 39.50%
Benzene Northwest Europe 33.11%
Propylene Northeast Asia 18.83%

Major price falls in May

Commodity Region Month on month fall
Butadiene Northwest Europe -37.65%
Benzene US -21.49%
Butadiene US -16.67%

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.

Index values are subject to change as monthly contract prices are agreed. The northeast Asia paraxylene contract price for May 2020 has yet to settle.

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