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Global Petrochemical Prices Fell 3% in February as Naphtha Costs Slipped: Platts

LONDON, March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market fell in February to $1,387 per metric ton (/mt), down 3% from January, 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.

Waning global petrochemical prices outpaced the losses in global naphtha markets, which fell 1% in February to $613/mt, down from $621/mt in January. Naphtha is a primary raw input for petrochemicals and is often a leading indicator of petrochemical products such as olefins and polymers. Naphtha prices fell in February despite modest gains in global oil prices.

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.

PLATTS GLOBAL PETROCHEMICAL INDEX IN DOLLARS PER METRIC TON 
The daily price reflected as a monthly average

Feb-14

Monthly
%
Change

Annual
%
change

Feb-'13

Jan-14

Dec-'13

Nov-'13

Oct-'13

$1,387

-3%

-5%

$1,453

$1,424

$1,406

$1,349

$1,352

OLEFINS 
Prices of olefins – a group of hydrocarbon compounds which are the building blocks to many petrochemicals that can be produced using naphtha – declined in February, following falling naphtha prices. Ethylene prices fell 4% to $1,291/mt in February, down from $1,351/mt in January. Polyethylene, a polymer produced from ethylene, also moved lower, falling 3% last month to $1,655/mt, down from $1,700/mt in January.

Global propylene prices averaged $1,405 per metric ton (/mt) in February, down 1% from January's average of $1,422/mt. The weaker propylene prices affected the downstream polypropylene market, which fell 1% to $1,628/mt, down from January's average of $1,645/mt.

AROMATICS 
Prices of aromatics – a group of scented hydrocarbons with benzene rings used to make a variety of petrochemicals – also were lower in February. Paraxylene posted the largest decline, falling 4% to $1,232/mt, down from the January average of $1,285/mt.

Benzene prices declined 2% to $1,391/mt from $1,424/mt in January. Toluene slipped $6/mt or 1% from January to $1,104/mt in February.  

Petrochemical prices in February fell despite gains in most global equity market indices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the London Stock Exchange Index (FTSE), were up 4% and 5% respectively. The Nikkei 225 posted a 0.5% loss for the month.

To access a summary of the February performance of each of the seven key petrochemicals included in the PGPI, visit this link: http://www.platts.com/newsfeature/2014/Petrochemicals/pgpi/index.

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.

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, coalelectricityoil, natural gasmetalsnuclear powerpetrochemical, shipping and sugar markets.  A division of McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI), Platts is headquartered in New York with approximately 900 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com.

About McGraw Hill Financial: McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI), a financial intelligence company, is a leader in credit ratings, benchmarks and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. Iconic brands include: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL, J.D. Power and McGraw Hill Construction. The Company has approximately 17,000 employees in 27 countries. Additional information is available at www.mhfi.com.

SOURCE Platts

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