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..
China’s cumulative HDPE demand under the downside scenario would be 97m tonnes lower than our base case. in the above chart
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
By John Richardson WE NOW HAVE enough data to make some firm conclusions about what the Chinese polyethylene (PE) market will have looked like in 2021. We can also make some early estimates about the shape of the market in 2022. The slide below details what the ICIS apparent demand data for January-October 2021 (our […]
By John Richardson WE ALL NEED TO ASK ourselves whether the global patterns in polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) pricing and margins that we have seen over the last year represent a long-term divergence in global markets or something temporary. As discussed on Monday, when I examined linear low-density PE (LLDPE) market (and the same […]
By John Richardson THE BALTIC DRY INDEX, one of the excellent barometers of overall economic activity, was late last week at its lowest level since June on a slowing Chinese economy, easing congestion at Chinese ports and a fall in Chinese coal imports (more on this in a moment). “The index was around 1,000 a […]
By John Richardson TRADE DATA when combined with price assessments, supply and demand estimates and market intelligence is the modern-day equivalent of alchemy with a rather important difference: we can genuinely convert numbers and conversations with the market into gold, unlike the bogus science of alchemy. A great example is the chart below, the first […]
By John Richardson RARELY, IF EVER, have events felt so bafflingly complex in the global polyethylene (PE) business. Take as an example the chart below listing the factors that have reshaped demand since the beginning of the pandemic. Let’s go through these factors one by one, box by box. It is reasonable to assume, starting […]
By John Richardson IF YOU THINK that forecasting the direction of China’s petrochemicals demand has become complicated enough because of Common Prosperity, the new complexities around demand pale into insignificance compared with the tangle of fresh variables shaping local capacity growth. The above slide is just my back-of-the-envelope attempt to chart some of […]
By John Richardson THE THING about the collapse of China is that, like commercially viable nuclear fusion and peak oil, it is always ten years away from happening. In other words, I don’t think it will happen. But as the journalist and author Richard McGregor said in this Dan Snow history podcast on this year’s […]