Polyethylene Prices, markets & analysis
With a network of price reporters across Asia, Europe and the US, ICIS is fully equipped to keep you updated on everything that happens in the global Polyethylene market, whether you buy or sell Polyethylene or related products.
From daily and weekly reports containing price assessments obtained by our network of local reporters, to the Polyethylene news and analysis, we provide the tools you need to make confident business decisions.
Polyethylene overview Transcript
Polyethylene or PE is mainly sold as small pellets to converters who then heat it up and form it into films, bottles and other useful shapes.
We cover several grades there’s several grades, low density polyethylene or LDPE, supply in the US is the tightest of all the grades and also commands the highest price premium.
Linear low density or LLDPE is next off the value chain for producers, and then there’s high density polyethylene or HDPE for moulding is typically viewed as the baseline commodity grade.
Packaging is another major use for polyethylene. Polyethylene is also used as an application in injection moulding of household goods and pipe extrusion.
In recent years, buyers have been faced with increasing complexity in the polyethylene market.
Different factors of feedstock costs, supply / demand balances and export pricing have come into play at different times.
Pricing increasingly depends on international markets because of the low cost of US feedstocks. Producers will be able to export whatever material they do not sell in the US.
How we can help
Polyethylene news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Polyethylene analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Polyethylene marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Polyethylene
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
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Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Polyethylene
Track historical price data
Other types of reports we cover for Polyethylene
Use margin reports to assess the profitability of commodities
News & analysis
News & Analysis - News & market analysis specifically relating to Polyethylene
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets.
Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
Polyethylene: Market overview
Polyethylene (PE) supply and demand in Europe is balanced to tight, on reduced output, fewer imports and better-than-expected demand. Upstream naphtha and crude oil movements have been more stable in the first quarter of 2014, leading to expectations of further relative stability in the second quarter.
Middle Eastern supply is also balanced to tight, in spite of sluggish demand. China PE import demand is expected to be strong because of planned domestic maintenance outages. Seasonal agricultural demand is expected to go be good, but most importers are expected to buy cautiously because of tight credit.
Demand in the Turkish market has been impacted by the weak lira, as well as economic and political issues. Sources hope that demand will improve in the second quarter as buyers replenish volumes. US PE buyers are hoping the second quarter brings price relief, as production issues are resolved and supply continues to improve.
With supply improving, lower feedstock ethane prices, as well as less US material being exported, some sources say the time is ripe for a price drop. Low-cost US ethylene from shale gas ethane has not yet made much impact in Europe and Asia.
Updated to mid-April 2014
News & analysis
Polyethylene news & analysis
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ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
Our in-depth market knowledge drives our specialist focus, as we recognise the importance of individual market dynamics and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
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LLDPE Forward Curve Methodology
The three main types of polyethylene (PE) are low density PE (LDPE), linear low density PE (LLDPE) and high density PE (HDPE).
HDPE is a thermoplastic white solid whose molecular chains are comparatively straight and closely aligned. It is resistant to most chemicals, insoluble in organic solvents and has high impact and tensile strength.
LLDPE is a thermoplastic, translucent white solid whose chains are comparatively straight and closely aligned, and has a lower density than HDPE.
LDPE is a thermoplastic white solid which has highly branched and widely spaced molecular chains.
End uses of HDPE include blow-moulding applications such as bottles, packaging containers, drums, fuel tanks for automobiles, toys and house wares. Injection-moulded articles made from HDPE include crates, pallets, packaging containers and caps, paint cans, house wares and toys.
LLDPE’s short chain branching gives it higher tensile strength, puncture and anti-tear properties, making it particularly suitable for high strength film applications.
LDPE is used mainly in film applications for both packaging and non-packaging uses. Other markets include extrusion coatings, sheathing in cables and injection moulding applications.