The average China PE spread between 1 January and 17 March this year was just $290, the lowest since our assessments began.
Between 2000 and 2021, before last year’s collapse, the annual spread averaged $532/tonne. This means that until spreads increase by 83% from their current levels, there will have been no recovery..
STRONG upside PP demand growth scenarios for the rest of the world might still not enough to cancel out negative growth in China
A SCENARIO-BASED approach is essential to understand US PE exports in 2023, based on non-plant economic factors
Capacity exceeding demand is forecast to reach 218m tonnes this year from a 1990-2022 annual average of 76m tonnes.
IF China had been a typical developing economy, as the above chart illustrates, its cumulative 1990-2022 could have been 300m tonnes smaller. As history moves forward,this suggests that China’s long-term demand growth could turn negative
The decline in container freight rates has opened the SEA PE market to more competition – pulling the region’s spreads closer to the record-low China levels
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.
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!
IT ALL CHAOS AND MUDDLE out there: China’s ethylene glycols demand could either grow by 10% in 2023 or contract by 5%.
EVEN if China’s PP demand growth is 14% this year – double our forecast – and growth in other regions is higher than we expect:
Global capacity in excess of demand would be 18m tonnes in 2023 compared with a 8m tonne/year average in 2000-2022,