SHORT-TERM tactics should involve maximising returns within regions along with a greater focus on exports anywhere in the world
Asian Chemical Connections
THE US gains $296m in China HDPE sales as Asian and Middle East exporters lose $1.4bn.
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,
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’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
In November 2021, the premium for overseas PP injection grade prices over prices in China reached a historic peak of $408/tonne. But in 1-18 November 2022, the premium was $113/tonne. Premiums have fallen in every month since April this year, resulting in a decline in China exports.
CFR China PP injection grade price spreads over CFR Japan naphtha costs averaged $546/tonne in 2003-2021 compared wit $251/tonne so far this year – a 118% difference. When you consider China’s economic fundamentals, it is unrealistic to expect a recovery to the long-term historic average in 2023.
IT REALLY ISN’T doom and gloom if you take the longer-term view. Instead, for the chemical companies with the right strategies, the opportunities to build new sustainable business models are huge. The winners will make an awful lot of money while also doing the right things for humanity and our natural environment.
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 HDPE in demand in 2023 could fall by as much as 4% over 2022. Next year’s net imports may slip to as low as 3.8m tonnes from around 5.7m tonnes in 2022.