Important raw material price developments

  • Higher prices for crude oil and naphtha
  • Year-on-year increase in gas prices, but with wide regional variance

Averaging around $54 per barrel in 2017, the price of Brent blend crude oil rose by about 23% compared with the previous year ($44 per barrel). The average monthly oil price fluctuated over the course of the year between $47 per barrel in June and $64 per barrel in December.

The average monthly price for the chemical raw material naphtha ranged over the course of 2017 between $401 per metric ton in June and $576 per metric ton in December. At $485 per metric ton, the annualized average price of naphtha in 2017 was higher than in 2016 ($385 per metric ton).

The average price of gas in the United States was $2.97 per mmBtu, above the level of the previous year ($2.49 per mmBtu). In Europe, the average price of gas on the spot market was significantly higher than in 2016, at $5.71 per mmBtu (2016: $4.62 per mmBtu). 1 Gas prices in China averaged around $6.24 per mmBtu nationally (2016: $6.54 per mmBtu), while the average price in the coastal regions was $7.43 per mmBtu (2016: $7.72 per mmBtu).

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

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

1 In contrast to prior-year reports, we refer here to the prices quoted by the Title Transfer Facility (TTF) in the Netherlands. The TTF is the trading point with the largest trading volume for natural gas in Europe. The previously referenced average of several spot market prices in 2017 was $5.76 per mmBtu (2016: $4.58 per mmBtu).