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.
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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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Other types of reports we cover for Polyethylene
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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
Updated to Q4 2014
In China, imported polyethylene prices are expected to be continuously weighed down by additional capacity in the domestic scene. However, some market participants expect room for recovery in the quarter owing to the gradual consumption of materials at downstream plants and as the PE prices were seen to have already bottomed out.
In southeast Asia, feedstock prices are not seen to lend any momentum to possible price increases in the region. Furthermore, the lingering weakness in demand is expected to continue, in line with the generally bearish sentiment seen in the key China market.
Meanwhile, European PE prices have followed movements in the upstream ethylene market in recent months and players expect this to continue into the fourth quarter. With fewer imports, and a strong dollar that prevented traders from procuring material at workable prices, most business was done between converters and their regular suppliers.
In the US PE market, at least one producer has nominated a price increase for mid-October, based on continued tight supply in the region. However, most market participants expect prices to remain fairly stable, if not slightly softer in the fourth quarter, based on lower prices in other regions. Demand in the US will begin to slide by mid-November, following the end of the peak packaging season.
Demand for Turkish PE will continue to be driven mainly by the economic situation in Turkey, while supply will continue to be determined by exchange rate fluctuations. A lack of working capital in Turkey reduced consumer activity, both among PE buyers and consumers of finished goods. Sources in the market do not see an end to economic concerns in the country in the near future, so demand is likely to remain flat for the rest of the year.
Supply into Turkey will be mainly determined by the exchange rate. If the dollar remains strong against the euro, and Turkish prices remain low, Middle Eastern suppliers will either limit material sent to Turkey, or will choose to export from their European operations, as some have already started to do. Iranian HDPE film and injection moulding exports could increase as domestic Iranian demand drops, but unless Turkish prices show signs of stabilising, Iranian suppliers may send material to Asia if the netback opportunities there are more attractive.
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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.