Petrochemicals market rose slightly in July
• Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals
market rose slightly in July to $1,319 per metric ton
(/mt), according to the just-released monthly Platts
Global Petrochemical Index(PGPI).
• 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
July was up 0.5% from June
• The average PGPI price in July was up 0.5% from
June, following a month-over-month price rise in
May. However, on a year-over-year basis,
petrochemical prices were up 12% from July 2012,
when the average price was $1,175/mt.
• 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
• Olefins – a group of hydrocarbon compounds which are the building blocks to
many petrochemicals – moved higher in July, with ethylene posting the largest
increase of any of the seven PGPI components.
• “The July PGPI price advance was driven in large part by a 2% rise in ethylene
prices, particularly in Europe, where naphtha is cracked to make ethylene,” said
Jim Foster, Platts senior petrochemicals analyst. He said naphtha price were up 6%
from June, according to the latest Platts monthly average.
• However, the gains in ethylene were largely contained and did not prove a major
price determinant downstream. For example, in the polyethylene market, prices
advanced only fractionally from June, up only $5/mt to $1,545/mt.
• Propylene, the second olefin component in the PGPI, showed an unchanged price
pattern for July, with the average price virtually flat at $1,287/mt. However,
minimal price increases were seen in polypropylene, where prices moved only 1%
from the June average of $1,519/mt to $1,539/mt in July.
• Prices of aromatics – a group of scented hydrocarbons with benzene rings
used to make a variety of petrochemicals – were mostly higher in July,
albeit by small amounts.
• The Platts Global Toluene Index advanced 1% in July to an average
$1,104/mt from the June average of $1,094/mt. Paraxylene prices rose by
a similar amount last month to $1,405/mt from the June average of
• Benzene, the final aromatic component of the PGPI, saw a price drop of
4% in July to $1,234/mt from the June average of $1,286/mt.
• Petrochemical prices in July failed to keep pace with gains in key global
equity markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose 4% last
month and the London Stock Exchange Index (FTSE) increased 7%. The
Nikkei 225 was locked in sideways trade from June through July.
• To access a summary of the July performance of each of the seven key
petrochemicals included in the PGPI, visit this
• 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.
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