ICIS has extensive coverage of the Polypropylene markets and our network of locally-based experts deliver reliable and trustworthy pricing information on a weekly basis. Price reports are published from Africa, Asia, southeast Asia, Middle East, China, CIS, Europe, Turkey, US and Latin America.
There are also weekly margin reports in Asia, China, Europe and the US assessing a short-term three-month view and longer-range view. Forecast reports looking forward a year and 12-month rolling series reports are also compiled for Asia, Europe and the US. This high-value news and analysis is an essential business tool to assist market players when making crucial decisions
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We offer the following regional Polypropylene analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Polypropylene marketplace.
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Polypropylene: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2017
African prices are likely to rise, to compete for supplies as allocations are reduced to the continent. African players tend to store large stocks to avoid price movements but they have been holding position for many months. Increased buying and elevated prices will likely stimulate supply into the region. Recovering production levels in US and Asia should also free volumes up for offer in the African market.
Demand is expected to improve in the following months as the rainy season ends and end- user consumption levels increase. African players tend to keep months-worth of stock to insulate themselves from external price movements. With African demand subdued throughout Q3, it remains to be seen how much longer players can maintain low buying rates in Q4.
Global supply levels in Q4 are likely to continue to remain curtailed in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. While market players do not expect a huge influx of Asia exports into the US in the near future, some believe this could potentially limit that volumes of US exports into Asia in November and December. Asia typically sees substantial volumes of US exports flowing into the region in the last quarter of the year. Scheduled maintenance turnarounds amongst producers in Asia are limited.
Demand for PP resins typically turns weak in the last quarter, as trading momentum dies down as the New Year holidays approaches. Some countries in southeast Asia, especially the Philippines, may see a slight up-tick in buying appetite towards the Christmas peak season. In most other southeast Asian countries, PP demand is likely to remain subdued until the start of the new year.
Polypropylene (PP) supply in the fourth quarter could ease.There were no expectations of a surge in imports, or a major change in output in the fourth quarter. A spate of cracker outages will be over, and propylene supply will ease, so some sources expected this to lead to mild downward pressure on pricing.
Demand in the fourth quarter is widely expected to be steady, but prebuying may have led to some stock-building, which will have an effect on volumes.The European economy is expected to continue to be strong into the fourth quarter, so this will support polypropylene (PP) demand. Asian markets are also strong, and exporters are expected to continue to prefer to send volumes towards Asia rather than Europe.
No new projects in the works, steady market in most of Latin America, no turnarounds expected. There is an exception in Venezuela, where production has stopped recently, with the lack of raw materials. This economy is not connected to the rest of the world under the current system.
Demand is expected to be constant in most of Latin America. There is diminished demand in Venezuela, forced by lack of supply and other basic necessities that change people's priorities.
Supply in the Middle East is expected to remain largely stable through the quarter. A tightness in spot availability is likely to persist, owing to the disruption at one regional facility earlier this year. In India, regional producers are likely to build inventories during the slowdown in demand during the festive holidays in October, improving domestic availability and lending relief to the prevailing tightness. A slowdown in demand in China during and after the Golden week holidays is also likely to improve supply going into the quarter.
PP demand in the Middle East is expected to strengthen during the quarter, supported by a need to restock inventories for improved downstream demand. Also, the reopening of the Iraq-Jordan border in late August is also expected to lead to improved demand within the region in the months ahead. The Indian market is expected to slow down early in the quarter during the Diwali festival holidays, with demand expected to improve second half October onwards. Demand in Pakistan is likely to seasonally strengthen late in the year.
Supply levels will be more consistent until the end of the year, with sellers looking to cater for increasing demand levels and less planned production breaks in the Middle East. Imports from the US may continue to suffer from outages connected to hurricane Harvey. Sellers offering volumes from Europe may also show preference to the US.
Demand levels are expected to improve in the coming months as increasing prices drives buyers to purchase quantities. Many have living hand to mouth in previous months. There will also be fears about supply levels, as the fallout from hurricane Harvey limits potential US exports and high Asian pricing attracts sellers’ offers away from the Turkish market. This may prompt buyers to secure volumes early.
US polypropylene (PP) availability is expected to rebalance in the fourth quarter following the impact of Hurricane Harvey in the third quarter. No lasting damage has been reported at major PP producers while the anticipated start-up of Enterprise's new propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit could lead to greater feedstock availability.
US polypropylene (PP) demand should remain steady in the fourth quarter. The main issue worrying participants is the possibility that the US market may attract a higher volume of imports if feedstock propylene prices continue to rise, especially if producers also achieve additional margin expansion targets on top of this. US PP contracts are mostly formula based and are set at polymer grade propylene (PGP) plus an adder.
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Polypropylene Asia Margin Report Methodology
Polypropylene China Margin Report Methodology
Polypropylene Europe Margin Report Methodology
Polypropylene Europe price forecast methodology
Polypropylene US Margin Report methodology
Polypropylene US price forecast methodology
Polypropylene (PP) is a colourless, translucent to transparent solid with a glossy surface. It has good resistance to acids, alkalis, inorganic chemicals and organic chemicals with the exception of hydrocarbons and chlorinated compounds.
It has improved impact strength, a higher softening point, lower density, better stress cracking and more scratch resistance than other polyolefins. However, a disadvantage of this polymer is its brittleness at low temperatures.
Polypropylene was first produced in a slurry process using Ziegler-Natta catalysts. Bulk phase technologies were then developed while higher activity catalysts enabled gas phase processes to be used. A combination of bulk phase tubular and gas phase reactors has become a popular process.
PP has key applications in packaging, fibres and automotive parts. PP can be extruded for pipe, conduit, wire and cable, while atactic PP has outlets in paper laminating, sealants and adhesives.