Prices in the US$3 trillion-plus global petrochemicals market rose 6% to US$1175 per metric ton (/mt) in July, according to the just-released monthly average of the Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI), a benchmark basket of seven widely used petrochemicals. This is up from the June average of US$1104/mt, which marked a 14% drop from the prior month. Despite the July increase, the first monthly price rise since March, petrochemicals prices were still trading well below year-ago levels, down 13% from July 2011. The daily price reflected as a monthly average
July 12 Monthly Annual Jul '11 Jun '12 May '12 Apr '12 Mar '12
% change % change
$1175 6% -13% $1398 $1104 $1279 $1444 $1445
Global petrochemical prices followed energy prices higher. Brent crude oil prices climbed 12% in July again breaching US$100 per barrel, after falling below US$90/b in June. Naphtha prices also were higher in July, with the Platts global naphtha index up 13% to US$572/mt. "The double-digit increases in crude oil and naphtha prices provided upward pressure on last month's petrochemical prices, but there were also some areas where short supply played a role," said Jim Foster, Platts senior editor of petrochemical analytics. All seven components of the PGPI rose in July. Ethylene had the largest gain, climbing 13% to US$1069/mt. Benzene had the second largest gain, climbing 11% to US$1289/mt. The smallest increase came in propylene, where prices edged up 1% to US$1061/mt.