Comparative PE and PP pricing data between Vietnam and southeast asia – and the “spreads” numbers between China PE and PP prices and naphtha costs – suggest the China economy has yet to recover.
Asian Chemical Connections
RECOVERY? WHAT RECOVERY? Some market players are talking about a rebound in the Chinese economy, and, therefore, polyolefins demand, but the critically important spreads data continue to tell a different story. Nothing has changed from last week.
At some point, polyolefins exporters to China and the local producers will regain pricing power. This will become apparent from a widening of spreads as economic activity returns to normal. It really is as simple as this. So, you need our data and analysis.
EFFICIENT SUPPLY CHAINS were something that we used to take for granted. They hummed away in the background, making petrochemicals just one of many globalised industries where products and services flowed almost seamlessly across borders. We didn’t have to think about supply chains because they worked so well.
REGULAR readers of the blog will know that I first highlighted the big polyolefins market divergence in April 2021. Back then, I said that:
Asia and Middle East producers needed to sell more to Europe.
Buyers should secure more resin supplies from Asia.
SUPPLY-CHAIN problems continue to disrupt the global chemicals and polymer industries more than two years since the pandemic began.
Right now, the centre of attention of supply-chain anxiety is China.
China’s polyethylene (PE) demand in 2022 could fall by 3% over last year. Net imports may be as much as 3.9m tonnes lower
US PE exports could be restricted in 2022 by local logistics challenges as China’s imports decline as its economy suffers a recession. The centre of attention for Asian and Middle exporters may therefore be Europe.
EUROPE’S NET HDPE imports could be as high as 4.1m tonnes in 2022 versus last year’s 1.1m tonnes.
IT WILL NOT be easy to estimate what could be higher-than-expected levels of European petrochemicals imports during the rest of 2022. But in the context of a China that might even be in recession, the extra effort necessary to figure calculate shifts in European trade flows is very, very worthwhile.