Updated to Q3 2015
The PE market outlook in Asia Pacific looks set to stabilise in Q3 2015. Ethylene prices have fallen in July and the PE supply tightness in Asia Pacific is expected to ease due to increased supply from Middle East and Asian producers. Market players also expect overall demand to strengthen and stabilise towards the end of Q3.
Middle East prices are expected to ease off slightly in Q3 as the production situation improves after Ramadan. Softening ethylene values in Asia and Europe are also seen as a bearish factor. Europe’s PE supply in July has begun to ease, but some PE grades are still tight. PE supply is expected to ease in August as the monomer becomes more available. Prices are expected to go down, but market participants are divided on the extent of the fall. The economic and political uncertainty seen in Turkey caused an uncertain demand situation and market outlook for the PE market in the near future. Market players will continue to monitor Asian PE prices to get a clearer indication of Turkish prices.
New polyethylene (PE) production coming online in the US Gulf in the first quarter of 2018 could bring oversupply of product in Latin America, but the impact on each country will be different, considering that the regional economies are on different stages of development and have different import tariffs.
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ICIS senior editor Linda Naylor, talks to ICIS markets editor Pavle Popovic about the 6th annual ICIS World Polyolefins Conference, the implications of new global capacity for polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) and other future issues facing the market.
The three main types of polyethylene (PE) are low density PE (LDPE), linear low density PE (LLDPE) and high density PE (HDPE).
HDPE is a thermoplastic white solid whose molecular chains are comparatively straight and closely aligned. It is resistant to most chemicals, insoluble in organic solvents and has high impact and tensile strength.
LLDPE is a thermoplastic, translucent white solid whose chains are comparatively straight and closely aligned, and has a lower density than HDPE.
LDPE is a thermoplastic white solid which has highly branched and widely spaced molecular chains.
End uses of HDPE include blow-moulding applications such as bottles, packaging containers, drums, fuel tanks for automobiles, toys and house wares. Injection-moulded articles made from HDPE include crates, pallets, packaging containers and caps, paint cans, house wares and toys.
LLDPE’s short chain branching gives it higher tensile strength, puncture and anti-tear properties, making it particularly suitable for high strength film applications.
LDPE is used mainly in film applications for both packaging and non-packaging uses. Other markets include extrusion coatings, sheathing in cables and injection moulding applications.
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