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Asian Chemical Connections

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 HDPE 2023 demand and net import forecasts

Scenario 1 for next year assumes that China successfully transitions from its zero-COVID policies. Consumer confidence comes roaring back. Demand grows by 4% year-on-year to a market of 17.6m tonnes.
Scenario 2 assumes that high infection rates and lack of healthcare resources keep consumer confidence depressed but that the global economy recovers, supporting China’s exports. Growth is minus 2%, leaving demand at 6.6m tonnes.
The worst-case outcome is Scenario 3 where the impact of zero-COVID continues, and the global economy gets weaker. Consumption falls by 4% to 16.1m tonnes.

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