June IPEX falls for fourth consecutive month

04 June 2014 12:11 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--The June IPEX slipped by 0.5% from the revised May figure of 325.67*, the fourth month in a row that it has fallen, following a combination of varying price movements across the three assessed regions.

This month the sub-indices of all three regions slipped downwards, with the biggest reduction of 1.0% for the US sub-index. The US sub-index dropped for the third consecutive month.

S benzene prices fell by 4.8% in May because of a strengthening of the supply side. Polystyrene (PS) prices dropped by 1.8% largely as a result of the lower values for benzene, which is a key component in the production of styrene.

US methanol prices fell by 5.6% to their lowest level since October 2013, mainly because of plants in Asia and the Middle East going back on line from outages and turnarounds.            

The Asian sub-index decreased by 0.4%, nearly reaching the level of two months ago, which was the poorest performance since August 2013. Butadiene (BD) prices dropped in May by 5.1% on a weaker downstream rubber market. In addition, PS prices fell by 1.4% and toluene prices were down by 2.4%.

Overall, Asian olefin prices edged up slightly in May, with ethylene higher by 0.4% and propylene rising by 1.2%. Despite the higher feedstock costs, polyethylene (PE) prices went down by 0.4% because of weaker demand in China. Polypropylene (PP) prices reflected the higher upstream costs and rose by 1.0%.

The European sub-index moved down by 0.1%. In Europe, prices showed a mixed picture. Paraxylene (PX) and ethylene prices decreased by 1.1% and BD prices dropped by 2.1% on higher market availability amid flat demand.  In total, aromatics prices went up with the highest price rise for benzene with about 2.2%. Following higher PP and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices the European polymer sub-index rose by 0.8% to the highest since October 2012.

Published at the beginning of each month, the IPEX provides an independent indicator of average change in world petrochemical prices. The IPEX product basket of 12 essential petrochemical products comprises ethylene, propylene, BD, benzene, toluene, PX, styrene, methanol, PVC, PE, PP and PS.

Dating back to January 1993, historical ICIS prices for these products in the US, western Europe and northeast Asian markets have been weighted by regional nameplate capacity to generate the monthly index value.


*The May IPEX has been revised from 325.85 to 325.67 following the settlements of April contract prices for PX, styrene and PVC in the US. The June index will be subject to further revision once May contract prices settle for ethylene, PX, styrene and PVC in the US and PX and styrene in Asia.

Download global and regional ICIS IPEX data here
Click here to view the full IPEX methodology

By Moritz Lank