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Global petrochemical prices fell 1% in March on softer crude oil prices



HOUSTON, April 1, 2014 - Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market fell 1% in March versus February to $1,371 per metric ton (/mt), according to the monthly Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI) announced on the sidelines of the international petrochemical conference of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) in San Antonio, Texas.


The PGPI is a benchmark basket of seven widely used petrochemicals and is published by Platts, a leading global energy, petrochemicals and metals information provider and a top source of benchmark price references.


Price losses in the global petrochemical markets reflected price declines in world crude oil markets.


Also tugging on prices was naphtha-- a primary raw input for petrochemicals and one which tends to establish the value of olefins, polymers and other products.


Expressed as a monthly average, naphtha prices fell just less than $1/mt last month.


Petrochemicals are used in the manufacturing of plastic, rubber, nylon and other consumer products and are utilized in manufacturing, construction, pharmaceuticals, aviation, electronics and nearly every commercial industry.


PLATTS GLOBAL PETROCHEMICAL INDEX IN DOLLARS PER METRIC TON
The daily price reflected as a monthly average


Mar
2014


Monthly % Change


Annual % change


Mar
2013


Feb
2014


Jan
2014


Dec
2013


Nov
2013


$1,371


-1%


-1%


$1,378


$1,387


$1,424


$1,406


$1,349



PGPI Average


The chart above shows the daily end-of-day Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI) price in red and also displays the 20-day PGPI moving average (MA) in blue.


Olefins


Prices of olefins- a group of hydrocarbon compounds which are the building blocks to many petrochemicals- were mostly flat in March on the back of the little changed naphtha prices.


Global ethylene prices globally fell less than 1% to $1,287/mt in March, down just $4/mt from the average February price of $1,291/mt.


Polyethylene, a polymer produced from ethylene, fell 2% to $1,622/mt in March, down from $1,655/mt in February.


Global propylene prices averaged $1,406/mt in March, up $1 from the February average of $1,405/mt.


Polypropylene, the polymer produced from propylene, slipped less than half a percent to $1,622/mt, following a February average of $1,629/mt.


Aromatics


Prices of aromatics- a group of scented hydrocarbons with benzene rings used to make a variety of petrochemicals- were lower in March.


Paraxylene posted the largest decline, falling 5% to $1,173/mt, down from the February average of $1,232/mt.


Benzene prices fell 3% to $1,353/mt, down from $1,392/mt in February. Toluene also was down 3% to $1,073/mt, down from $1,104/mt in February.


Petrochemical prices in March took little direction from global equity markets.


The London Stock Exchange Index (FTSE) fell 3% in March, while the Down Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) climbed 1% during the same period.


The Nikkei 225 was relatively unchanged throughout the month, falling less 0.10%.


To access a summary of the March performance of each of the seven key petrochemicals included in the PGPI, visit: http://www.platts.com/news-feature/2014/petrochemicals/pgpi/index.


The PGPI reflects a compilation of the daily price assessments of physical spot market ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, paraxylene, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and polypropylene as published by Platts and is weighted by the three regions of Asia, Europe and the United States.


Used as a price reference, a gauge of sector activity, and a measure of comparison for determining the profitability of selling a barrel of crude oil intact or refining it into products, the PGPI was first published by Platts in August 2007.


Published daily in a real-time news service Platts Petrochemical Alert and other Platts publications, the PGPI is anchored by Platts’ robust and long-established price assessment methodology and the firm’s 100-year history of energy price reporting.


Platts petrochemicals experts are available for media interviews. A sample list of experts may be found at the Platts Media Center. For more information on petrochemicals, visit the Platts website at www.platts.com.


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