AS RECENTLY AS 2020, China’s polypropylene (PP) exports totalled just 424,746 tonnes, causing what must have been barely a ripple of anxiety among the major Asian and Middle East exporters. But as the slide below shows, in 2021, China moved into the group of top exporters as its exports surged to 1.4m tonnes. This year, exports could be 1.7m tonnes or higher.
Asian Chemical Connections
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.
In January-March 2022, the ICIS China production estimates plus the net import data from the China Customs department suggested that China’s full-year polypropylene (PP) demand growth would have been be 4%. But the January-April data for this year suggest almost zero growth over last year.
Instead of demand for the nine polymers growing by 7m tonnes in 2022 under our base cases, my downsides see consumption falling by 6m tonnes.
Every tonne you don’t produce, when you correctly assess that the demand isn’t there in a particular market, will be important in preserving cashflow. Cashflow could once again be king, as it was just during the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis; and every tonne that you do produce, when you accurately assess that demand is there will, of course, support your revenues.
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.
By John Richardson IF WE ARE involved in a new protracted Cold War, this will change just about everything for the petrochemicals industry. Or, of course, we could go back to the Old Normal. Corporate planners must therefore press on with drawing up short, medium and long-term scenarios and then apply these scenarios to tactics […]
By John Richardson The first point to make as I write a final review of China’s polypropylene (PP) market in 2021 – also including a further outlook for the rest of this year – is that ICIS supply and demand and trade data is pure gold dust. The data inform commercial decisions that can save […]
By John Richardson MOST people now accept that China’s real estate sector, worth some 29% of the country’s GDP, is deflating with significant long-term implications for petrochemicals growth. But because China’s GDP growth is very likely to still grow and because China’ existing demand is already so big the common view is that there is […]
By John Richardson THE OMICRON outbreak is piling further pressure on already extremely stressed supply chains as Europe struggles to cope with the highly infectious variant. As my ICIS colleague, Tom Brown, said in this ICIS Insight article, tapping into market intelligence from our pricing editors: “The supply chain pressures that have dogged the European […]