October 15, 2015 - 10:59 AM EDT
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Platts: Global Petrochemical Prices Fell to 6-Year Low in September

Monthly Average Price was Lowest Since May 2009

HOUSTON, Oct. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market in September fell to lows not seen since May 2009 as values across the energy complex remained soft, according to the just-released monthly Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI).  Petrochemical prices, expressed as a monthly average, fell $102 per metric ton (/mt) From August to $786/mt in September. This is the second straight month where the average monthly price has fallen more than $100.

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. 

"Crude and naphtha prices were mostly stable to slightly higher during the past month," 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. "We're still seeing petrochemical prices declining as recent drops in crude oil and naphtha prices continue to reach the consumers."

The daily price reflected as a monthly average

Sept 2015

Monthly % Change

Annual % Change

Sept  2014

Aug  2015

July  2015

June 2015

May   2015










Visit this link for a graphic: PGPI Averages.

On average, crude oil prices were up 79 cents per barrel (/b) or 2% in September from August.  Naphtha prices were also up 2% or 5 cents per gallon (/gal).  Prices of olefins, a group of hydrocarbon compounds which are the building blocks to many petrochemical products used to produce everyday goods, tend to track naphtha prices since naphtha is the most widely used feedstock in petrochemical cracker processes worldwide. This past month, however, olefins prices tumbled as much as 24%, which is on par with the degree of the price decline in naphtha during the past two months.

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 sharply lower last month. Propylene, which can be made at both the refinery and the cracker, slipped 24% to $559 per metric ton (/mt) in September, down $180 from August. Ethylene, which is primarily produced at crackers, fell 13% to $761/mt in September, down $114 from August.

Polyethylene and polypropylene, plastics manufactured from ethylene and propylene respectively, were both lower in September.  Global polyethylene prices fell 5% to $1,239/mt, while polypropylene prices fell 7% to $1,143/mt.

Prices of aromatics – a group of scented hydrocarbons with benzene rings used to make a variety of petrochemicals – were also lower last month.  Benzene posted the largest drop, falling 12% to $586/mt in September, down $80 from August. Toluene prices fell 4% in September to $609/mt, down $28 from August. Paraxylene, the final aromatic included in the PGPI, was down 3% in September to $765/mt, down $20 from August.

Petrochemical prices moved in line with global equity markets in September. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1% while The London Stock Exchange Index (FTSE) fell 5%. The NIKKEI 225 was down 8%.

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.

Global, Americas, Asia: Kathleen Tanzy, + 1 917 331 4607, [email protected]

About Platts: Founded in 1909, Platts is a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information and a premier source of benchmark prices for the physical and futures markets. Platts' news, pricing, analytics, commentary and conferences help customers make better-informed trading and business decisions and help the markets operate with greater transparency and efficiency. Customers in more than 150 countries benefit from Platts' coverage of the biofuels, carbon emissions, coal, electricity, oil, natural gas, metals, nuclear power, petrochemical, shipping and sugar markets. A division of McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI), Platts is based in London with more than 1,000 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at www.platts.com.

About McGraw Hill Financial: McGraw Hill Financial is a leading financial intelligence company providing the global capital and commodity markets with independent benchmarks, credit ratings, portfolio and enterprise risk solutions, and analytics. The Company's iconic brands include: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL and J.D. Power. The Company has approximately 17,000 employees in 30 countries. Additional information is available at www.mhfi.com.

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Source: PR Newswire (October 15, 2015 - 10:59 AM EDT)

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