Global petrochemical prices fall 5% month-over-month to US$1,378/tonne in March, with aromatics seeing largest decline: Platts Global Petrochemical Index

Mathew Kearney

Mathew Kearney

Apr 10, 2013 – PR Newswire

LONDON , April 10, 2013 (press release) – Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market fell 5% to $1,378 per metric ton (/mt) in March, according to the just-released monthly average of the Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI), a benchmark basket of seven widely used petrochemicals. This followed a 6% increase in February.

On a year-over-year basis, petrochemical prices also were down 5% from the March 2012 average price of $1,445/mt, according to data published by Platts, a leading global energy, petrochemicals and metals information provider and a top source of benchmark price references.

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

Mar. ‘13

Monthly % change

Annual % change

Mar. ‘13

Feb. ‘13

Jan. ‘13

Dec. ‘12

Nov. ‘12


- 5%

- 5%






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

"Of the three groups of chemicals making up the Platts Global Petrochemical Index –aromatics, polymers and olefins – the aromatics posted the largest price decline in March," said Jim Foster, Platts senior petrochemicals analyst. "Asian demand for xylenes wasn't there last month, so toluene was not being converted to xylenes or benzene," he explained. "Styrene plants were shut down, which resulted in length in the global benzene market."

The average price of paraxylene was $1,472/mt in March, down 10% from the February level and marking the first decline since June 2012, when the average paraxylene price fell 16%. Toluene, which can be converted into xylene and benzene, fell 8% in March to $1,197/mt, on weakened Asian paraxylene demand.

Global benzene prices also posted an 8% decline in March, dropping to an average of $1,301/mt. Benzene is primary raw material input for styrene production. With several styrene plants shut during March for routine maintenance, demand for benzene declined.

Olefins prices were lower in March as downstream plastic demand ebbed and raw input costs dropped. The global propylene index in March fell 6% to an average price of $1,331/mt, following a February level of $1,411/mt. The price decline in propylene, which is used to produce polypropylene, also spurred a pull-back in the March global polypropylene price index, which slipped 3% to $1,528/mt.

Ethylene, the second olefin component of the PGPI, saw a 4% price index retreat in March to $1,349/mt, following the February average of $1,403/mt. Polyethylene, which is produced from ethylene, saw a similar price decline last month. It was down 3% to $1,538/mt.

Petrochemical prices moved counter to price trends in the global equity markets in March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was up 4% last month, while the London Stock Exchange Index (FTSE) edged up 1% and the Nikkei 225 jumped 7%.

To access a summary of the March 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

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 The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), Platts is headquartered in New York with approximately 900 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at

About The McGraw-Hill Companies: The McGraw-Hill Companies, to be renamed McGraw Hill Financial (subject to shareholder approval), is a powerhouse in credit ratings, benchmarks and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. Leading brands include: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Company has approximately 17,000 employees in 27 countries. Additional information is available at

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