IPEX: Global index down 4.2% in November on widespread chemicals price falls across all regions

Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez


LONDON (ICIS)–The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) fell by 4.2% month on month in November as chemicals prices declined across all regions, not least in northeast Asia and northwest Europe.

That’s the second consecutive fall, after three months of increases over the summer, and marks a decrease of more than 28% from the global IPEX mid-2022 peak.

The northeast Asia index declined by 2.2% from October driven by softer prices across most commodities, mainly due to the traditional low demand season.

The only exception were propylene and methanol. In the case of the latter, prices were supported by China’s policy-sensitive futures markets, as speculative trading reacted to continued government stimulus.

Logistics issues linked to Panama Canal transit restrictions and imports from the US also boosted appetite for methanol.

In northwest Europe, the index went down by 2.1%, mainly as cooler domestic buying appetite brought benzene, styrene and toluene prices down.

A decline in octanes demand for gasoline blending requirements and the closure of export opportunities to the US also paved the way for lower benzene values.

In the case of styrene, additional pressure from growth in global production capacities impacted contract discussions in Europe.

The IPEX in the US Gulf dropped by a softer 0.6%. A strong increase in propylene contract prices was offset by sharp declines in benzene, toluene, and ethylene monthly values, mainly on the back of softer upstream costs.

Propylene pricing rose to its highest level since April driven by propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit outages in a tightly supplied market.

The Global IPEX for November is down by 1.6% year on year.

Although northeast Asia has surpassed index values in November 2022, the US Gulf is still 11.5% below.

The ICIS petrochemical index tracks the movement of prices for the 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 IPEX values are related to a January 2000 base of 100. IPEX values are subject to change retrospectively as monthly contract prices are settled.

Thumbnail image shows IPEX graph


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