Europe PET supply to continue to rely on imports - GSI

09 October 2009 11:45  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--European polyethylene terephthalate (PET) customers have been reassured of continued PET supply despite the financial health of domestic producers and an EU investigation into anti-dumping, speakers at a PET industry forum said late on Thursday.

Industry players were speaking at Global Service International’s (GSI) seventh annual “PET day” in Artimino, Italy.

“Importers will be the most important suppliers to the European market, if not from Iran, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), then from additional capacity in Oman, Egypt [and] maybe Morocco,” said GSI CEO Francesco Zanchi.

Last month, the European Commission launched an anti-dumping investigation into PET imports from Iran, the UAE and Pakistan.

The Commission’s investigation followed a campaign launched by the PET Committee of Plastics Europe, which said it was acting on behalf of producers representing over 50% of PET production in the EU, for anti-dumping duties to be imposed on PET imports from the three countries.

“Whatever decision of the European Commission, imports will continue,” added Zanchi.

Europe was currently importing PET at a rate of 70,000 tonnes/month, up from 30,000 tonnes/month in 2006, according to Zanchi.

According to Reliance Industries’ Sanjay Sinha, there were ample opportunities for PET exporters, in Asia and the Middle East for example, to maintain their export loadings.

Sinha heads Reliance's operations in India for paraxylene (PX), orthoxylene (OX), purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and polyester chips.

China was better at motivating production rather than demand, as demonstrated in the first half of 2009, when there was a sharp increase in output following the government’s stimulus incentives, Sinha added.

Speakers at the forum agreed that there would be continued growth in PET demand.

Expected global growth in demand for polyester was at a rate of 2m-3m tonnes/year, compared with the 1m-tonne/year increase in 2009 and the slight dip in 2008, according to Sinha.

Assuming the world was experiencing a “v-shaped” economic depression, a reasonable recovery was expected over 2009-2011 for PET packaging resin, said Roger Lee of Tecnon OrbiChem, a petrochemical consultancy.

Lee estimated that polyester staple would see a recovery of 8.5%, “returning to a longer-term trend of 6% thereafter”.

Worldwide capacity of PET was assessed stable at around 18m tonnes/year in 2009, Zanchi said.

Due to delayed plant start-ups and downward pressure on prices, which have led to closures, those plants that are in operation have ramped up their utilisation rates, Zanchi said.

“It will remain a buyers’ market,” he concluded.

The 160 delegates who were present at the forum consumed 8m tonnes of PET globally, according to GSI's Zanchi.

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By: Caroline Howard
+44 20 8652 3214

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