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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Polypropylene: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2018
The end of the Ramadan religious festival should mean that supply levels improve, as Middle East suppliers return to full production schedules. Tightness in Asia may see more volumes directed away from Africa. Sellers generally prefer to sell to Asia, due to an easier- to-reach buyer market.
The end of Ramadan should see many players return to market, especially in Muslim majority countries, such as Egypt. The rainy season will continue through August but once this over demand levels should improve. The end of Summer could see players looking to refill their stocks, creating a surge in orders.
Supply in China is expected to lengthen in China, as domestic production units resume operations in light of previous maintenance turnarounds. This is in contrast with southeast Asia, where spot availability is expected to tighten in view of several maintenance turnarounds scheduled for producers in Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.
Demand in China is expected to remain tepid in Q3, as plastic processors shut down manufacturing units temporarily or reduce operation rate as margins become increasingly narrow due to high PP resin feedstock prices. Demand in southeast Asia is likely to remain subdued in early Q2, as the seasonal lull persists.
PP supply and demand are expected to remain fairly well-balanced in the third quarter. An increased volume of imported material could be available as European spot prices have risen, but PP in other regions is healthy, and no glut is expected. Any propylene production issues could have an impact on PP supply.
PP demand is healthy, and this is expected to continue. PP growth globally is strong and there are no indications that the situation could change in the short-to-mid term.
GCC supply is likely to remain stable from late Q2 levels, with no scheduled maintenance activities among the majority of producers. Prices are thus likely to see limited impact from supply-led trends. The possible resumption of normal operations at a producer’s unit following disruption in early 2017 may improve availability.
GCC demand may remain unchanged from the end of the second quarter and could possibly soften in July and August during the summer holidays. Some uptick may be observed ahead of the Eid ul-Adha holiday in late August. East Mediterranean demand would likely remain weak until political situation in Iraq improves as Iraq remains the primary market there.
Offer levels into Turkey should improve following Ramadan; even in the latter part of June, there is a variety of offers already in the market. There are some maintenance periods planned in the coming months by Middle East producers but overall supply levels should remain consistent. There will remain a structural tightness to the market.
There is a hope that the completion of presidential elections will bring political stability to Turkey and that will foster growth in demand. The poor performance of the Turkish currency and economy remain a hindrance to buyer interest. Demand is sure to rise as stocks are empty following Ramadan but it may be limited to hand to mouth purchases.
US polypropylene (PP) supply is expected to begin to stabilize in the third quarter. Additional import volumes are expected to arrive in the country at least at the start of the quarter after domestic prices skyrocketed to a four-year high. Operational difficulties at existing plants should be resolved over the next several weeks.
US PP demand was heard to be healthy at the start of the quarter, although the market expressed concern that elevated prices, which opened the quarter at a four year high, may lead to some demand destruction in the coming weeks. Domestic demand may slow somewhat as buyers will bring in more imports in response to surging domestic prices.
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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.