Today's Trends: Platts' Petrochemical Index Average Rises in August

Platts reports that the monthly average price of petrochemicals was $1,071/metric ton (mt) in August, a 6.2 percent increase from July, due to increasing economic activity in Asia as the manufacturing industry restocked inventories ahead of the year-end gift-giving holiday season.

The August monthly average price as measured by Platts Global Petrochemical index (PGPI), a basket of seven widely used petrochemicals, is up $62/mt from the July average of $1,009/mt, and 5.7 percent higher than the average in August 2009.

PGPI levels were volatile in August with an average daily fluctuation of 2.26 percent from 1.25 percent a month earlier, reflecting financial market pessimism and continuing slow petrochemical demand growth. Prices, after hitting a 15-month high in mid-April, had trended lower before finding support in July.

Asia led the price rise on increased production of plastic and synthetic fibers for products and packaging being readied for the peak Christmas season. Price support also came from South Asia, where demand for plastics from flood-stricken Pakistan pushed up consumption of the polymer raw material.

In Europe, polymer prices moved lower in August on supply and price competition from the U.S., Middle East and East Europe. Prices of benzene were higher in the U.S., attracting interest from Asian manufacturers seeking improved profits.


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