23 May 2013 16:29 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Another high density polyethylene (HDPE) line is to close in Europe – the second closure to be announced in a week, market sources said on Thursday.
Part of Total Petrochemicals’ modernisation programme at Antwerp, Belgium, involves the closure of a polyethylene (PE) line – the company’s “smallest and oldest” PE line at the site, which market sources widely believe to produce HDPE.
No Total source was available for immediate comment on the capacity of the plant, or the grade of HDPE it produces, but in a press statement released on 22 May Total said the PE line would close in 2014.
Last week the Netherlands’ LyondellBasell said it plans to shut down a 100,000 tonne/year HDPE unit in Wesseling, Germany in the third quarter of 2013, while US-headquartered Dow Chemical closed its 190,000 tonne/year HDPE plant at Tessenderlo, Belgium at the end of 2012.
Buyers have not shown much concern over the closure of these plants, as they expect ample material from the Middle East to cover their needs.
PE production in Europe is estimated to be cut by as much as 30% at present to accommodate poor demand.
In recent days spot prices have surged as buyers have returned to the market to “bottom pick” – buying prices at what they perceive to be the bottom of the current price cycle.
Some HDPE grades have seen the biggest upswing. On Thursday HDPE injection was trading as high as €1,300/tonne ($1,667/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), from a low of €1,170/tonne FD NWE in mid-May.
HDPE is used widely in the manufacture of household goods, packaging and film production.
($1 = €0.78)
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