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Platts Global Petrochemical Index

A Platts.com News & Analysis Feature



Platts Global Petrochemical Index

A Platts.com News & Analysis Feature


Platts: Global Petrochemical Prices Continued to Advance in June


Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market climbed another 1% month over month in June, according to the just-released monthly Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI).


Petrochemical prices, expressed as a monthly average, increased $11 per metric ton (/mt) from May to $1,104/mt in June. This marked a fifth month of rebound following six consecutive months of falling prices.


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


"While the overall index advanced, prices of individual components of the PGPI were mixed," said Jim Foster, Platts' head of analysis for petrochemicals and agriculture at Platts.


"Aromatics were much stronger and polymers were slightly lower. We're five months into the price recovery, but we're still seeing prices 20% below their 2014 levels. Lower feedstock prices certainly are contributing to that."


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


June
2015


Monthly % Change


Annual % change


June
2014


May
2015


April
2015


March
2015


Feb
2015


$1,104


1%


-20%


$1,372


$1,093


$1,052


$954


$873



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.


Crude oil prices were down 4% in June from May and naphtha prices were down 2%. Olefins prices tend to track naphtha prices, given that naphtha is the most widely used cracker feedstock worldwide. However, stronger aromatics prices helped push the PGPI higher.


"Demand returned to the benzene market as downstream turnarounds at styrene units were completed," Foster said. "This pushed benzene up 5%."


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


Olefins


Prices of olefins -- a group of hydrocarbon compounds which are the building blocks to many petrochemical products used to produce everyday goods -- were mixed last month.


Propylene, which can be made at both the refinery and the cracker, slipped 1% to $923/mt in June, down $13 from May.


Ethylene, though, which is primarily produced at crackers, increased 3% to $1,185/mt in June, up $33 from May, as some cracker outages continued in the global market.


Polyethylene and polypropylene, plastics manufactured from ethylene and propylene respectively, were both lower in June. Global polyethylene prices fell 1% to $1,516/mt, while polypropylene prices fell 2% to $1,415/mt.


Aromatics


Prices of aromatics -- a group of scented hydrocarbons with benzene rings used to make a variety of petrochemicals -- were higher last month.


Toluene posted the largest gain, climbing 6% to $823/mt in June, up $45 from May.


Benzene climbed 5% to $833/mt in June, up $25 from May.


Paraxylene, the final aromatic included in the PGPI, was up 1% in June to $894/mt, up $6 from May.


Global equity markets were mostly lower in June. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2% while The London Stock Exchange Index (FTSE) fell 7%. The NIKKEI 225, which was the only index to show gains in June, was up 0.5%.


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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