China CFR PE price spreads hit new record low in 2024
Asian Chemical Connections
DEMOGRAPHICS SHAPE petrochemicals demand. As we consider the future, evaluate the different challenges of the G20’s Rich but Old, Poor & Old and Poor & Young G2O groups of countries.
If we are to see a repeat of 87% in 2024-2030 (the green line in the chart) and assuming my forecast of 2% demand growth is correct, the increase in global capacity would need to average just 154,000 tonnes/year during each year between 2024 and 2030. This is versus our base case of 4.5m tonnes/year of annual increases.
I think that China’s polyethylene (PE) demand growth averaged 2% across the three grades in 2023. I see this year’s growth at between 1-3%, and at the same levels up until 2030.
If GDP growth were a percentage point lower than ICIS forecasts during each of the years between 2023 and 2040, and assuming the same 0.7% polymer multiple over GDP, annual consumption of the nine synthetic resins would be around 10m tonnes a year lower than our base case.
A petrochemicals world dominated by Supermajors, especially those running COTC plants, or one where greater regional cooperation (more on this in later posts) and increased protectionism allow older, smaller and less carbon efficient plants to survive.
SHORT-TERM tactics should involve maximising returns within regions along with a greater focus on exports anywhere in the world
You might think it impossible for China to reach complete self-sufficiency in PE, PP, EG and PX. History suggests otherwise.
There is a big new wave of lower-carbon and very advantaged cracker projects on the way, including Saudi Aramco’s crude-oil-to-chemicals investments.
HOW many PP company CEOs saw this coming, and what their plan now?