Asia Reacts First to Oil Price Plummet

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Petrochemical markets in Asia have reacted swiftly to recent rising crude oil and naphtha prices, however, European and US markets are still feeding through the sharp crude price downturn of the past six months.

The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) fell 1.5% in February from January 2015. The index is currently down 37% from February 2014 and 36% lower than in August 2014 when crude oil prices began to fall dramatically.

The drop in crude oil prices from the US$109.89 average in February 2014 to $58.16 per oil barrel in February 2015 has prompted steep falls in the price of the petrochemical industry’s primary liquid feedstock, naphtha.

Naphtha prices in Europe in February, 2015 were $511/tonne on average, 44% lower than in February 2014. 

Petrochemical price movements in the US were mixed although prices rose for products most directly linked to oil.

Published at the beginning of each month, the IPEX provides an independent indicator of average change in world petrochemical prices.

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