A SCENARIO-BASED approach is essential to understand US PE exports in 2023, based on non-plant economic factors
Asian Chemical Connections
SEA Asia PE market dragged lower by China now container freight rates have fallen.
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
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.
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.
China LLDPE: New demand and net import outlook for 2023
China’s LLDPE demand in 2023 could either grow by 3% or contract by as much as 6%, depending on whether or not China successfully exits zero-COVID
China’s real estate rescue and zero-COVID tinkering will make little difference
China’s real estate rescue only involves shoring-up lenders. The property bubble will not and cannot be reflated. Most of the zero-COVID rules remain in place, and will likely stay in place well into 2023
China’s long-term GDP growth risks and polymers demand
Cumulative downside demand in the above chart would total 5bn – 91m tonnes lower than our base case.
Naphtha markets underline why “Micawberism” is not the answer
The January-September 2022 multiple of BFOE crude prices per barrel over CFR Japan naphtha prices per tonne averaged just 7.9. The lowest multiple so far this year was 6.9 in August. The January-September 2022 average was the lowest annual average since our naphtha price assessments began in March 1990.