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Platts Announces November Petrochemical prices fell 3% on lingering economic concerns

Friday, Dec 09, 2011

LONDON, Dec. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Platts -- Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals marketplace fell more than 3% to $1,162 per metric tons (/mt) in November, according to the just-released monthly average of the Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI), a benchmark basket of seven widely used petrochemicals. This compares to an October average of $1,200/mt and was largely attributed to a slowdown in downstream demand for petrochemicals, according to Platts, the founder of the index and the physical market price assessment processes for each of its components. 

However, on an annual basis, the November 2011 PGPI average was down 2.7% from the same period in 2010.

Petrochemicals are used to make plastic, rubber, nylon and other materials for consumer products, packaging, manufacturing, construction, pharmaceuticals, aviation, electronics and nearly every commercial industry.

On an end-of-day, end-of-month basis, the PGPI market-on-close value was $1,148.97/mt on November 30. This marked a 2% drop compared to the end-of-day, end-of-month value for October 31, 2011 of $1,175.95/mt. Month-end closing prices are often used for valuing portfolios.

Industry and market participants in November were keeping their eyes trained on the general consumer, the start of the holiday shopping season and global stock markets for clues as to the true health of the world economy and any signs that petrochemicals demand will increase in the months ahead. Many of the popular items of this year's holiday shopping season -- flat screen TVs, gaming systems, computers, clothes and children's toys -- are made from petrochemical products.

Despite a month-on-month uptick in global equity markets by late November and a 3% rise in share values of retail outlets on Monday, November 28, 2011, following the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, petrochemical markets showed little reaction to the start of the holiday shopping season largely seen as the make-or-break period for determining retailers' full-year performance. The PGPI hit a 12-month low on Tuesday, November 29, of $1,145/mt, the lowest level since October 2, 2010.

Six of the seven components of the PGPI were lower in November, based on the monthly averages just released. Bucking the trend was toluene, which posted a 1% small gain due to strong demand from Asia early in November. The largest drop in component price came from paraxylene, which fell more than 10% on weak demand from polyester makers. To access a summary of the November performance of each of the seven key petrochemicals included in the PGPI, visit this link: http://www.platts.com/newsfeature/2011/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 Platts Petrochemical Alert, a real-time news service, 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, consult 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 and metals 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 carbon emissions, coal, electricity, oil, natural gas, metals, nuclear power, petrochemical, and shipping markets.  A division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), 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 The McGraw-Hill Companies:  McGraw-Hill is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy.  Leading brands include Standard & Poor's, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services and McGraw-Hill Education.  With sales of $6.2 billion in 2010, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries.  On September 12, 2011, the Corporation announced its intention to separate into two public companies -- McGraw-Hill Markets (working name), primarily focused on global capital and commodities markets and McGraw-Hill Education focused on digital learning and education services worldwide.  Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

SOURCE Platts

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