STRONG upside PP demand growth scenarios for the rest of the world might still not enough to cancel out negative growth in China
Asian Chemical Connections
US PE exports in 2023 are not inevitably going to increase
A SCENARIO-BASED approach is essential to understand US PE exports in 2023, based on non-plant economic factors
Diversification to other markets in 2023 crucial for PP producers because of China risks
China could be net exporter of 900,000 tonnes of PP this year, down from 2022 net imports of 3.2m tonnes This makes the other import markets more important for producers.
Collective wishful thinking could be behind the global polyethylene crisis
EVEN IF CHINA’S PE demand grows at 10% in 2023, with very strong growth in other regions, this year’s global capacity would still be 22m tonnes more than demand!
Global PE new supply and China spreads tell the real story
Global PE capacity in excess of demand is forecast to average 24m tonnes/year in 2022-2025, and to reach 26m tonnes this year
Operating rates are expected to average 81% in 2022-2025. This would compare with a 10m tonnes annual average capacityexceeding demand in 2000-2021 and an operating rate of 85%.
Your complete and updated outlook for global polyethylene in 2023
The strength of China’s post zero-COVID recovery in 2023 will be crucial, as will local operating rates as self-sufficiency further increases.
Another important factor: European gas supply next winter and the effect on local PE production.
Assessing confidence and the China PE demand recovery: More scenarios are needed
Scenario 2, my preferred scenario, would see China 2023 PE demand at approximately 38.5m tonnes – an average of 2% higher across the three grades than in 2022.
Cracker project announcements continue despite all-time high oversupply
Companies behind the crackers due on-stream over the next four years emphasise the low-carbon output. The planned new plant also have excellent economies of scale
Coming to terms with the new China is essential for sensible forecasting
Even our base case sees global PE capacity in excess of de</mand at 22m tonnes in 2023 compared with a 10m tonnes/year annual average in 2000-2022. We forecast this year’s global operating rate at 79% versus the average annual 2000-2022 operating rate of 86%. Downside One would see 28m tonnes of excess capacity and a global operating rate of 77%; Downside Two would be 30m tonnes and 76% respectively.
China polyolefins in 2023: Demand and supply workshops crucial
This year is a great deal harder to predict than 2022,, hence my latest outlook for China’s PP demand (see the chart below), which includes the two extremes of our ICIS base case for 6% growth versus my worst-case downside of minus 5%.