Global IPEX climbs 3.5% in August as recovery continues

Author: Nigel Davis


LONDON (ICIS)--A 3.5% higher global IPEX for August underscores the continued petrochemicals recovery from the depths of the coronavirus-driven slump earlier in the year.

The increased US and northwest Europe price indexes illustrate the recovery taking hold in these regions while the more muted increase in the northeast Asia ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) reflects some pressure on prices as supply and demand balanced out through July and August.

Butadiene volatility persists, with August prices much higher in all three regions, the markets having lost considerable value earlier in the year.

Increased supply and downstream outages have weighed on NE Asia ethylene prices.

Petrochemical prices globally remain well down on last year. The Global IPEX was 21% below the August 2019 level, with the US value down most significantly for the month year on year.

IPEX Value July to August change
Global 177.43 3.50%
US 170.35 4.46%
Northwest Europe  230.17 4.85%
Northeast Asia 160.00 2.23%

Major price rises in August

Commodity Region Month on month rise
Butadiene Northeast Asia 29.99%
Butadiene US 18.42%
Butadiene Northwest Europe 13.17%

Major price falls in August

Commodity Region Month on month fall
Ethylene Northeast Asia -11.22%
Toluene Northwest Europe -5.56%
Styrene Northeast Asia -3.55%

IPEX values are subject to change retrospectively as monthly contract prices are settled. Yet to settle for August 2020 are NWE paraxylene, US propylene, US paraxylene, US polypropylene and NEA paraxylene.

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.