Global Petrochemical Prices Continued Slow Slide, Down 1% in April

May 16, 2014, 06:52 ET from Platts

PATTAYA, Thailand, May 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market fell another 1% in April to $1,363 per metric ton (/mt), down just $8/mt from March, according to the monthly Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI), released today on the sidelines of the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference in Pattaya, Thailand. 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.

The slight decline in PGPI was attributed in part to falling prices in the global ethylene market, which saw prices fall 3% to $1,254/mt. Paraxylene prices also were lower, falling 2% to $1,155/mt. The other five components in the PGPI were relatively stable, either climbing or falling by 1% or less. The slight drop in petrochemical prices, was opposite of the primary raw inputs for petrochemicals – crude oil and naphtha. The global naphtha index was up 2% in April, while crude prices climbed less than 1%.

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.



The daily price reflected as a monthly average






















Prices of olefins – a group of hydrocarbon compounds which are the building blocks to many petrochemicals – were lower in April. Ethylene inventories grew during the first quarter of 2014, which put downward pressure on prices and accounted for the largest price drop in April of all the PGPI seven components. In the U.S., ethylene inventories were at a 12-year high, according to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Association. Polyethylene, a polymer produced from ethylene, was priced slightly higher in April despite lower ethylene prices. The price edged up 1% to $1,639/mt in April, up from $1,622/mt in March.

Global propylene prices averaged $1,396 per metric ton (/mt) in April, down $10/mt (1%) from the March average of $1,406/mt. Polypropylene, the polymer produced from propylene, was up 1% at $1,639/mt in April, compared to $1,622/mt in March.

Prices of aromatics – a group of scented hydrocarbons with benzene rings used to make a variety of petrochemicals – were mixed but mostly lower in April. Paraxylene posted the largest decline, falling 2% to $1,155/mt, down from the March average of $1,173/mt. Toluene prices fell $1 in April to $1,072/mt. Benzene was the only aromatic to post gains in April, climbing $11/mt to $1,364/mt.

Petrochemical prices in April got little direction from global equity markets. The London Stock Exchange Index (FTSE) climbed 3% in April, while the Down Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) climbed 1% during the same period. The Nikkei 225 fell 4% in April.

To access a summary of the April performance of each of the seven key petrochemicals included in the PGPI, visit this link:

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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