Global Petrochemical Prices Fell for Fourth Consecutive Month in May

Jun 16, 2014, 16:31 ET from Platts

LONDON, June 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market slipped $3 per million metric ton (/mt) in May, marking the fourth consecutive month of price declines, 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 price references.

For the four months of price declines, the total price loss was little more than 1% of total value – falling from $1,387/mt to $1,360.  The price drop is attributed largely to falling prices in the global benzene market, where prices were down 4% to $1,310/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 industry.

The daily price reflected as a monthly average


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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. If you have trouble viewing the graphic, visit this link: PGPI Averages.

Prices of olefins – a group of hydrocarbon compounds which are the building blocks to many petrochemicals – were mixed in May. Ethylene prices, which had the largest price gain of all the seven components included in the PGPI, were pushed higher by stronger naphtha prices. The ethylene price in May averaged $1,275/mt, up 2% from April. Polyethylene, a polymer produced from ethylene, also saw higher prices for the month. In May the average price was 0.35% at $1,645/mt.

Global propylene prices, moving opposite of ethylene, slipped 1% to $1,386/mt, despite the climbing naphtha price. The average price of propane move lower in mid-month but was flat for the month as a whole. Prices of polypropylene, the polymer produced from propylene, edged down 1% from April to May to $1,641/mt.

Prices of aromatics – a group of scented hydrocarbons with benzene rings used to make a variety of petrochemicals – were mixed but mostly lower in May. Paraxylene posted the only gain, advancing 0.2% to $1,157/mt, up from $1,155 in April. The largest price drop in aromatics was in the global benzene market, where prices fell 4% to $1,310/mt. Rising global benzene supplies put downward pressure on prices.

Global petrochemical prices moved in the opposite direction of global equity markets during May. The Nikkei 225 rose 2% during the month, while both the London Stock Exchange Index (FTSE) and Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced by about 1%.

To access a summary of the May 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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