Urethane Blog

Benzene, Toluene Rise

April 28, 2015

Platts: Global Petrochemical Prices Rose Again in March After 6-Mo. Decline 9% Month-Over-Month Increase Strongest Gain Since February 2012

HOUSTON, April 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market climbed another 9% month over month in March, for a second month of rebound following six consecutive months of falling prices. Petrochemical prices, expressed as a monthly average, increased $81 per metric ton (/mt) from February to $954/mt in March, according to the just-released monthly Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI).

The PGPI is a benchmark basket of seven widely used petrochemicals and is published by Platts, a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information and a top source of benchmark price references. 

"Even though crude prices were down slightly on average in March, petrochemicals were still responding to the nearly 20% increase in crude prices in February, and the 24% increase in February naphtha prices," said Jim Foster, director of petrochemical analysis at Platts. "In February, petrochemicals only advanced 3%, but were able to post gains of nearly 10% in March."



The daily price reflected as a monthly average


% Change

Annual %


Feb 2015

Jan 2015

Dec 2014

Nov 2014










A chart shows the daily end-of-day Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI) price in red and also displays the 20-day PGPI moving average (MA) in blue. If you have trouble viewing the graphic, visit this link: PGPI Averages.

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

Prices of olefins – a group of hydrocarbon compounds which are the building blocks to many petrochemical products used to produce everyday goods – jumped approximately 10% in March as the market reacted to February's strong naphtha prices. Ethylene prices gained 10% in March from February to $922/mt and propylene prices were up 9% to $933/mt.

Polyethylene and polypropylene, plastics manufactured from ethylene and propylene respectively, posted similar month-over-month price gains.  Global polyethylene prices climbed to $1,270/mt, up 9%, while polypropylene prices were up 11% to $1,284/mt.

Prices of aromatics – a group of scented hydrocarbons with benzene rings used to make a variety of petrochemicals – also saw increases in March. Benzene saw the largest gain of any component in the PGPI, with prices climbing 15% from February to $727/mt in March. Toluene prices rose 7% to $690/mt, while paraxylene prices were flat at $788/mt.


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