Important raw material price developments

  • Prices drop for crude oil and naphtha
  • Gas prices rise in United States and fall in Europe; prices remain significantly lower in U.S. than Europe

At an average of around $99 per barrel in 2014, the price of Brent blend crude oil was below the previous year’s level ($109 per barrel). The oil price fluctuated over the course of the year between $112 per barrel in June and $62 per barrel in December.

Average monthly prices for the chemical raw material naphtha ranged over the course of 2014 between $953 per metric ton in June and $492 per metric ton in December. At $837 per metric ton, the annualized average price of naphtha in 2014 was below the level of 2013 ($902 per metric ton).

The average price of gas in the United States was $4.37 per mmBtu, once again significantly above the level of the previous year ($3.73 per mmBtu). In Europe, the average price for gas imports remained substantially higher, at $10.1 per mmBtu. Yet the difference between U.S. and European reference prices shrank considerably, from $8.1 per mmBtu in 2013 to $5.7 per mmBtu in 2014. In China, the price for gas was around $10 per mmBtu on national average. The price of gas was between $11 and $14 per mmBtu in the coastal regions. Compared with the previous year, this represents an increase of between 15 and 20%.

Price trends for crude oil (Brent blend) and naphtha ($/barrel, $/ton)

Price trends for crude oil (Brent blend) and naphtha (line chart)