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Petrochemicals prices up even as crude oil dips under USD 100

Posted on Aug 25 2014 | IANS

By Biswajit Choudhury, New Delhi, Aug 25 : While international crude oil prices dropped below the USD 100 a barrel-mark this week, data released simulateneously showed prices in the USD 3 trillion global petrochemicals market rose for a second consecutive month.

As per Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI), a top research and information source on the industry, global petrochemicals prices rose over 4 percent in July to USD 1,446 per metric tonne (mt) following a 2 percent monthly advance in June.

Prices declined in each of the four months prior to June. The PGPI is a benchmark basket of seven widely used petrochemicals published by Platts. On a year-on-year basis, the petrochemical prices were up 10 percent over July 2013.

While crude oil and naphtha prices were down 5 percent and 2 percent respectively in July, production issues for some products like olefins put upward pressure on prices.

"While prices of some products dropped in line with the lower input costs by late July, it didn't really show in the full monthly average," said Jim Foster, Platts editorial director of petrochemical analytics.

Petrochemicals are used to manufacture plastic, rubber, nylon and other consumer products and are utilized in manufacturing, construction, pharmaceuticals, aviation, electronics and nearly every commercial industry.

Prices of olefins were higher in July, the report said.

Ethylene prices climbed 6 percent to USD 1,405 per mt, up from USD 1,320 per mt in June, pushed up by delayed production start-ups and multiple sales controls implemented by various producers. As ethylene prices rose, so did polyethylene, a plastic made from ethylene.

Both propylene and polypropylene, a plastic produced from propylene prices also rose last month by 2 percent.

Prices of aromatics - a group of scented hydrocarbons with benzene rings used to make a variety of petrochemicals - also strengthened in July.

(Biswajit Choudhury can be reached at

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