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
Updated to Q1 2015
The recent collapse in crude oil and naphtha prices has had an impact on polyethylene (PE) prices globally, and prices have been falling swiftly in most regions.
Crude oil and naphtha prices remain volatile, and many players are bearish for their short-term outlook, affecting PE activity downstream as buyers want to avoid building stock in a downward-moving market.
The outlook for US PE prices in January is down. The consensus among buyers and traders is that each of the first three months of 2015 will bring price reductions, based on market momentum, growing resin inventories upstream and the shrinking export market.
Demand for imported PE grades in China is expected to be weak in the first quarter while supply is expanding with the addition of new capacity.
The Chinese Lunar New Year holiday in February is expected to have a negative impact on demand, and suppliers are expected to cut their prices to stoke buying interest in the period.
In southeast Asia, demand for imported PE cargoes is expected to remain lacklustre, on low crude prices. Inventories are expected to lengthen as the Chinese market quietens down for new year.
European PE prices are also expected to follow crude movements and it is thought that buyers will take care not to build inventory ahead of a further potential downward price movement. The weak euro is expected to lead to continued tightness in imports.
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.