The weekly Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) price report is published in Asia, Middle East, Europe, CIS, the US and Latin America. The reports cover, if applicable to the region, different grades of PET such as bottle, film and fibre, domestic prices, spot prices, production news, feedstock quotes, exchange rates and price history.
The unbiased and informative reports are full of news and analysis, and are a vital tool for those involved in the industry to use to make better informed decisions.
Updated to Q4 2020
Supply decreased in Q4 as there were a number of planned maintenance turnarounds. Two South Korean producers had maintenance in October-November. Three plants in Taiwan underwent maintenance, one in each month in the quarter. By the end of December, two plants in China and a plant in India stayed shut for maintenance. Chinese inventories were at low levels on the back of active domestic offtake especially in late November to December when prices were on an uptrend.
Buying was taking place despite the seasonal lull. Tight vessel and container availability from many Asia PET exporting countries and steep increases in container ocean freight cost affected discussions due to availability and changes in landed cost competitiveness. Some underprepared buyers hastened their purchases and increased their purchase volume from nearby sources, others split up their purchases to several suppliers in order to secure cargo for stable near-term production.
Supply decreased due to a heavy maintenance schedule that went on longer than planned, as lockdown restrictions kicked in. Technical problems and feedstock restrictions also impacted output of a few plants. Material that was sent stateside owing to production problems there, was surplus to Europe. Alpek Polyester UK closed the 150,000 tonne/year M5 PET resin line at its Wilton site. The company will continue operating its newer 220,000 tonne/year melt-to-resin LC1 plant, also in Wilton.
Demand dropped off as expected, after a flurry in the summer months. Excess material was exported to fill the gap from hurricane-hit plants in the US early in Q4. Buyers dipped into the market for fear of supply being affected by this and shutdowns, then later because of a global shortage of containers, but overall, end-user consumption was negatively impacted by the pandemic and lockdowns.
PET supply in Latin America during the fourth quarter of 2020 was tight from a combination of shortage of feedstock monoethylene glycol (MEG) from the US and rising Asia-to-America freight costs. All regional resin producers had to reduce operating rates and one Mexican producer declared force majeure.
PET demand in Latin America in the fourth quarter of 2020 was strong as PET played a vital role in preventing the spread of the coronavirus through the manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as drinks and food packaging. Additionally, demand showed improvement in anticipation of larger consumption volumes of beverages ahead of the year-end holiday.
US PET supply during the fourth quarter of 2020 was gauged as tight due to a producer’s force majeure on hurricane-related production disruptions. Shortage of feedstock monoethylene glycol (MEG) and reduced PET import volumes from Mexico – as one producer there declared force majeure due to lack of US MEG – made supply even tighter.
US PET demand in the fourth quarter of 2020 was strong supported by the vital role PET has played in preventing the spread of the coronavirus through screen dividers at work and public places, face shields and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as drinks and food packaging.
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Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) exists both as an amorphous (transparent) and a semi-crystalline (opaque and white) thermoplastic, and can be made into either a resin or a film.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has a crystalline structure and good chemical resistance to mineral oils, acids and solvents but not to bases. It has good electrical resistance, low moisture absorption; it resists combustion and is self-extinguishing.
PET exists both as an amorphous (transparent) and a semi-crystalline (opaque and white) thermoplastic, and can be made into either a resin or a film. The semi-crystalline PET has good strength, stiffness and hardness while the amorphous PET has better ductility.
PET can be made into a resin, fibre or film. The largest outlet is synthetic fibres, followed by bottle resin. PET film is used in electrical applications and packaging.
In the manufacture of PET resins, purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and monoethylene glycol (MEG) are reacted to make a basic ester which is polymerised in a melt phase, polycondensation finishing reactor.
Dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) is an alternative feedstock to PTA but the PTA route is preferred. The molten polymer is extruded, cut into chips and cooled. The chips pass to a solid state polycondensation unit to form the PET resin.