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Platts Global Petrochemical Index

A News & Analysis Feature

Platts: Global Petrochemical Prices level off in October

Platts Global Petrochemical Index

A News & Analysis Feature

Platts: Global Petrochemical Prices level off in October

Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market in October were flat based on a monthly average and move slightly higher when comparing month-end to month-end prices. This is the first time the markets have shown intermonth gains since May of this year, according to the just-released monthly Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI).

Petrochemical prices, expressed as a monthly average were $785 per metric ton (/mt) in October, down just $1 from September.

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.

"Benzene prices climbed 4% in October," said Jim Foster, head of analysis for petrochemicals and agriculture at Platts, a leading global provider of energy and commodities information and benchmark price assessments.

"Exports of benzene out of Korea were down 30% in October, which pinched supplies globally. Also, benzene price have been following upstream energy, and both crude and naphtha posted gains in October."

The daily price reflected as a monthly average


Monthly % Change

Annual % change














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 up 2% in October, while naphtha prices climbed 3%.

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.


As a group, olefins prices were mixed last month with ethylene posting small gains and propylene prices falling.

Propylene, which can be made at both the refinery and the cracker, slipped 5% to $533 per metric ton (/mt) in October, down $26 from September.

Ethylene, which is primarily produced at crackers, climbed 1% to $767/mt in October, up $6 from September.

Polyethylene and polypropylene, plastics manufactured from ethylene and propylene respectively, were also mixed in October as each derivative closely followed its feedstock price. Global polyethylene prices climbed 1% to $1,252/mt, while polypropylene prices fell 3% to $1,114/mt.


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

Benzene posted the largest gain of any component in the PGPI, climbing 4% to $612/mt, up from $586/mt in September.

Toluene prices gained 2% in October to $621/mt, up $12 from September.

Paraxylene, the final aromatic included in the PGPI, was up 1% in October to $773/mt, up $8 from September.

Petrochemical prices moved in line with global equity markets in October. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 8% while The London Stock Exchange Index (FTSE) gained 5%. The NIKKEI 225 was up 10%.

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

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