China spot PE prices are expected to stabilise in the second quarter of 2017 as there were several scheduled domestic plants maintenance in April-May, which will regulate domestic supply and deplete existing inventory.

However, southeast Asian market players anticipate PE prices to remain stable to soft should there be no major improvements in end-product demand ahead of the Eid-ul Fitr holiday in June, as relatively low feedstock prices and expected healthier supply might weigh down on PE prices.

The outlook for US PE calls for prices to move a little higher before dropping much lower. The expectation for higher prices stems from producers who revised their proposed increase for March. The widespread market outlook is for a major decline in US PE prices because of three new worldscale crackers and downstream PE units scheduled to start up this year.

In Turkey, bearish sentiment is expected to continue until the upcoming constitutional referendum. Demand is then expected to climb in the lead up to Ramadan, potentially dragging prices up with it.

European PE prices have been supported by the lack of imports and a series of planned cracker closures that has kept ethylene supply tight. Higher prices in Europe, and lower prices in Asia, however, are leading to potential new arbitrage opportunities that could mean more imports in Europe by the end of the second quarter.
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Updated to Q2 2017

PE Supply and Demand

Our new 'snapshot' view of supply and demand data for polyethylene (PE), offers an 11 year view on PE, revealing producers’ manufacturing capabilities enabling you to form an informed view of trade patterns.

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Polyethylene methodology

Free download: Polyolefins Presentation Slides

Free download: Polyolefins Presentation Slides

The Asian polyolefins sector is expected to experience lengthened supply due to additional global capacities for both polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets. Furthermore, the industry has also seen changes in government policies, which might change trading dynamics due to capacity expansions in the near future.

Download the ICIS presentation that analyses the impact of increasing polyolefins capacities in China, southeast Asia and Turkey, along with a short-term outlook for Q4 2017.

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An expert view of supply and demand data for the global polyolefins market is available via our online supply and demand database.

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Market Insight: Europe PE prices lower for November

Market Insight: Europe PE prices lower for November

European PE buyers have been able to achieve lower prices in November, despite higher upstream naphtha costs. As producers’ margins are compromised, can this trend continue?

Find out in the latest insight piece by ICIS senior editor Linda Naylor.

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What is Polyethylene?

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.

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US Nov MEG contracts fall on better supply, slower demand but Dec could turn bullish

HOUSTON (ICIS)--An improved supply picture and slowing demand conditions led to a decrease in the  US November ethylene glycol industrial-grade... Fri, 17 Nov 2017

Consultants sound overcapacity warning for polyethylene

Another consultant is warning that the new polyethylene (PE) plants coming online in the US and the rest of the world will exceed demand growth,... Thu, 16 Nov 2017

Market Outlook: Global polyolefins outlook driven by supply/demand dynamics and China policies

Getty Images ICIS forecasts growth in polyolefins consumption in Europe in 2017 and 2018, making continuity of supply a key issue for... Thu, 16 Nov 2017