Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

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Discover the factors influencing polyethylene terephthalate (PET) markets

Utilised universally for synthetic fibers, films, packaging and bottle production, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the most common thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family. As it is the world’s recyclable packaging choice for many foods and beverages, it is crucial for market participants to stay in touch with each driver and every movement in the PET marketplace.

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Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) news

ExxonMobil to close Gravenchon, France cracker and related derivative units in 2024

LONDON (ICIS)—ExxonMobil Chemical France has announced plans to close its chemical production at Gravenchon, in Normandy in France in 2024, subject to the relevant government approvals. According to a press release, the steamcracker and related derivatives units and logistics facilities will be shut down. The company said the site has lost more than €500 million since 2018 and despite efforts to improve the site’s economics, it remains uncompetitive. According to the ICIS Supply & Demand database, the cracker has the capacity to produce 425,000 tonnes/year of ethylene and 290,000 tonnes/year of propylene and was started up in 1967. A butadiene (BD) unit is also at the site and associated derivatives include polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP). ExxonMobil's nearby Port Jerome refinery will continue to operate supplying fuels, lubricants, basestocks and asphalt. The closure will impact 677 jobs through 2025. ExxonMobil said this planned closure is entirely separate from the Esso S.A.F. announcement regarding its proposed sale of the Esso Fos-sur-Mer refinery and South France logistics assets. Charles Amyot, president of ExxonMobil companies in France said: “It has been a very difficult decision for us to take, but we cannot continue to operate at such a loss.” This week Saudi Arabia's Sabic also revealed plans to permanently close its Olefins 3 cracker – one of two at their Geleen, Netherlands site.

11-Apr-2024

PODCAST: Europe PE, PP see slow Apr start, ahead of ICIS conference

LONDON (ICIS)–Europe’s virgin polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets have been slow to start after the Easter break, with April opening differently as compared to March. The surprisingly strong trend for PE and PP in early 2024 has started to ease as panic restocking by converters, sparked by logistical issues due to tensions in the Red Sea, subsides. Ahead of the ICIS World Polyolefins Conference this week, ICIS editors look at early supply/demand signs for April and the changes from March. This podcast features Matt Tudball, senior editor for Europe R-PET and R-LDPE, and Vicky Ellis, senior editor manager for Europe virgin PE and PP. ICIS analysts and editors will be at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Vienna, Austria, on 10-11 April for the 10th edition of the ICIS World Polyolefins Conference. Industry leaders, including Berry Global, Borealis and Plastic Energy, will also share their insights during the conference.

09-Apr-2024

‘Extremely active’ 2024 Atlantic hurricane season could mirror 2020, threaten US Gulf chem production

HOUSTON (ICIS)–The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be extremely active, and has similar characteristics to the 2020 season, meaning it could threaten offshore oil and natural gas production in the US Gulf and chemical producers along the Gulf Coast. Source: Colorado State University (CSU)  A report late last week from researchers at CSU follows a report released on 27 March by US meteorology firm AccuWeather that also predicted an active hurricane season. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will issue its first seasonal hurricane report in late May. So far, the CSU team said it is seeing similar characteristics to hurricane seasons in 1998, 2010 and 2020. The 2020 season saw 30 named storms, of which 13 became hurricanes and six of those were major storms. Storms in 2020 that impacted chemical operations included: Tropical Storm Marco hit Louisiana on 24 August. Days later, Hurricane Laura made landfall as a powerful category 4 storm in Louisiana near the border of Texas. Then, Hurricane Sally made landfall on 16 September in Alabama as a category 2 storm, followed by Tropical Storm Beta which made landfall less than a week later in Texas. Hurricane Delta followed a similar path as Hurricane Laura, making landfall on 9 October as a category 2 storm in Louisiana. Weeks later, Hurricane Zeta hit Cocodrie, Louisiana, as a category 2 storm. Hurricane Laura knocked 16% of total US ethylene capacity and 11% of total US propylene capacity offline, according to the ICIS Supply and Demand Database. About 18% of polyethylene (PE) production was offline, and 26% of polypropylene (PP) production was offline. Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), a synthetic rubber used to make tires, had 46% of its US capacity offline. The CSU team said record warm tropical and eastern subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are the primary factor for the active season prediction. “When waters in the eastern and central tropical and subtropical Atlantic are much warmer than normal in the spring, it tends to force a weaker subtropical high and associated weaker winds blowing across the tropical Atlantic,” researchers said. “These conditions will likely lead to a continuation of well above-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic for the peak of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season.” Warm ocean waters serve as the fuel source for hurricanes, the CSU team said. “In addition, a warm Atlantic leads to lower atmospheric pressure and a more unstable atmosphere,” they said. “Both conditions favor hurricanes.” The current El Nino is likely to transition to a La Nina by the peak of the season – from August to October. Hurricane season begins on 1 June and runs through the end of November. Hurricanes and tropical storms can disrupt the North American petrochemical industry, because oil and gas production are concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico. Also, many of the nation's refineries and petrochemical plants are along the US Gulf Coast in the states of Texas and Louisiana. Even the threat of a major storm can disrupt oil and natural gas production, because companies must evacuate US Gulf platforms as a precaution. Thumbnail image shows a weather satellite orbiting over a hurricane. Photo by John Pulsipher/image from Shutterstock

08-Apr-2024

Latin America stories: weekly summary

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Here are some of the stories from ICIS Latin America for the week ended on 5 April. NEWS Mexico’s automotive output falls nearly 13% in March Mexico’s automotive sector output fell by 12.75% in March, month on month, to just over 300,000 units, the country’s statistical office Inegi said on Wednesday. Sanitation framework, nascent LatAm lithium industry keeping Brazil’s chloralkali afloat – Abiclor Brazil’s chlorine and caustic soda sectors have kept afloat in better health than the wider chemicals industry as sanitation plans and new lithium exploitations across Latin America keep demand high, according to the director general at the country’s trade group Abiclor. Brazil’s chemicals, industrial output falls in February Brazil’s chemicals output fell in February by 3.5%, month on month, one of the largest falls among the subsectors measured, the country’s statistical office IBGE said on Wednesday. Petrobras ‘proactively’ engaging with Federal auditor about tolling contract with Unigel Petrobras continues to “clarify in a timely manner” all the information requested by the Federal auditor regarding its tolling contract with Unigel, a spokesperson for the Brazilian energy major said to ICIS on Tuesday. Brazil’s Unigel postpones Q4 results amid debt restructuring Unigel has postponed the publication of its Q4 and 2023 financial results as its debt restructuring is ongoing, the Brazilian chemicals and fertilizers producer said on Tuesday. MOVES: Brazil’s Unipar appoints Alexandre Jerussalmy as CFO Unipar has appointed Alexandre Jerussalmy as CFO and investor relations officer, effective immediately, the Brazilian chemicals producer said on Tuesday. Colombia’s manufacturing slows down in March on lower sales Colombia’s manufacturing output growth slowed down in March on the back of lower sales, although it marked its third month in expansion territory, analysts at S&P Global said on Monday. Brazil's manufacturing March output healthy on new orders, fueling job creation Brazil’s manufacturing continued expanding at pace in March on the back of a healthy new order book, prompting firms to increase workforces, S&P Global said on Monday. Mexico’s manufacturing steady in March but subdued US demand causes concern Mexico’s manufacturing output stayed stable in March but firms are getting increasingly worried about lower demand from the US, the key market for the country’s export-intensive manufacturers, analysts at S&P Global said on Monday. PRICING Lat Am PP domestic prices down in Argentina, Mexico on lower US PGP spot prices, weak demand Domestic polypropylene (PP) prices dropped in Argentina and Mexico on the back of lower US spot propylene prices and weak demand. In other Latin American countries, prices remained steady. LatAm PE international prices steady to lower on lower US export offers International polyethylene (PE) prices were assessed as steady to lower on the back of lower US export offers. Ethanol prices in Brazil experiencing surges during April The prices of hydrous ethanol surged during the initial week of April, propelled by consistent strong sales in Brazil. Unigel to raise PS April prices in Brazil Unigel is seeking an 11% price increase on all grades of polystyrene (PS) sold in Brazil starting on 1 April, according to a customer letter. Innova seeks April PS price increase in Brazil Innova is seeking a real (R) 1,000/tonne ($200/tonne) price increase, excluding local taxes, on all grades of polystyrene (PS) sold in Brazil starting on 1 April, according to a customer letter.

08-Apr-2024

Europe top stories: weekly summary

LONDON (ICIS)–Here are some of the top stories from ICIS Europe for the week ended 5 April. India’s urea imports plunge in January as country plans to end imports by 2025 In India, urea imports were at 400,542 tonnes in January, down 69% from 1.3m tonnes in January 2023 as requirement for fresh purchases decreased due to above average stock availability, according to customs data. European Commission implements definitive dumping duties on China PET As of 3 April, certain types of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be subject to anti-dumping duties imposed by the European Commission. Costs, margins a pressing concern in the Europe epoxy industry, talks firmer for April The continued uptrend in raw material costs is piling on the pressure in the Europe epoxy industry and triggering price rise proposals for April, as profitability issues mount. Eurozone inflation declines further in March as energy costs drop, food inflation slows Inflation in the eurozone continued its slow downturn in March, falling to 2.4%, Eurostat said on Wednesday, as energy price declines continued and upward pressure on food and industrial goods lessened.

08-Apr-2024

VIDEO: Europe R-PET C flake prices rise in April despite calmer sentiment

LONDON (ICIS)–Senior Editor for Recycling, Matt Tudball, discusses the latest developments in the European recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) market, including: Colourless flake prices rise in NWE, southern and eastern Europe Calmer April sentiment compared to Q1 UK bale, flake prices volatile Outlook still soft for food-grade pellets

05-Apr-2024

Vietnam Q1 GDP expands 5.7%; strong momentum to continue

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Vietnam's economy expanded at an annualized pace of 5.7 % in the first quarter of 2024, led by manufacturing and services, with the robust growth expected to continue in line with recovery in external trade. GDP growth fastest for Q1 since 2020 Q1 exports surge 17%, with US remaining Vietnam’s largest market 2024 official GDP growth target at 6.0-6.5% The Q1 GDP growth represents a strong acceleration from the 3.4% pace recorded in the same period of last year, but slower than the 6.7% Q4 2023 expansion, data released by the General Statistics Office (GSO) showed on 29 March. Vietnam is the fourth-largest economy in southeast Asia after Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It is a net importer of petrochemicals such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). The country's domestic production of petrochemicals is concentrated at two sites in the central region – the Nghi Son refinery and petrochemical complex in Thanh Hoa province and the Binh Son complex in Quang Nhai province. "One key driver for the robust growth outcome in Q1 2024 has been external trade, with both exports and imports’ rising at the fastest pace since 2021, boosted by strong demand for products such electronics and phones," said Suan Teck Kin, head of research at Singapore-based UOB Global Economics & Markets Research. "The upswing in semiconductor sales since mid-2023 suggests that [trade] momentum is likely to continue further into the quarters ahead." Despite the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and dark clouds of shipping disruptions in the Red Sea, Vietnam's exports of goods surged by 17.0% year on year to $93.1 billion while imports gained 13.9% to $85 billion. "Recovering exports and sustained foreign investment inflows and consumption are expected to be key drivers to Vietnam’s growth in 2024," consulting firm McKinsey & Company said in a recent report. Further recovery in domestic consumption following the government’s stimulus policies and the uptick in international tourism would support growth, it said. In January-February 2024, the US remained Vietnam’s largest export market, accounting for a 28% share, followed by China (14%), South Korea (7%), and Japan (6%). Q1 growth was also driven by contributions from the manufacturing and construction sector which grew by 6.3% year on year, and services which expanded by 6.1%. These sectors accounted for 41.7% and 52.2%, and 6.1%, respectively, of the overall headline growth in Q1, according to the GSO. Vietnam's industrial production for the period rose by 6.18% year on year, reversing the 5.9% decline in February. The improvement was driven by growth across three of the four main sub-indices – electricity and gas production; manufacturing and water supply; and waste management activities. Inflation pressures in Vietnam have eased, though the central bank is likely to continue to keep a close eye on inflationary pressures. Q1 consumer price index (CPI) rose by 3.8% year on year from 3.5% in Q4 2023, marking the fourth consecutive quarter that headline inflation has accelerated. "With Q1 2024 performance coming in within our expectation and setting a positive start for the year, outlook for 2024 remains bright though downside risks are still present, including conflicts between Russia and Ukraine and between Israel and Hamas which could disrupt global trade and energy/commodity markets," UOB's Suan said. "Nonetheless, the recovery in the semiconductor cycle, stable growth in China and the region, and the likely easing of monetary policy by major central banks this year will be supportive of the outlook." UOB expects Vietnam's GDP to grow by 6.0% this year, in line with the country’s official growth target of 6.0-6.5%. In Vietnam's political arena, the resignation of President Vo Van Thuong in late March 2024, the second president to resign in as many years, has cast a shadow over political stability in the country, Suan noted. However, it should be noted that president’s role in Vietnam is largely ceremonial and, therefore, unlikely to affect the country’s broad policy direction, he said. "Vietnam’s long-standing policy of welcoming investors and businesses is unlikely to be affected as the government sorts out the succession issue," Suan added. Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman Thumbnail image: At the Hai Phong Port, the largest port in the northern Vietnam, on 25 May 2015. (Minh Hoang/EPA/Shutterstock)

02-Apr-2024

China petrochemical futures track crude gains on upbeat March factory data

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical futures markets were tracking gains in crude prices on Monday, with Brent trading at above $87/bbl, on bullish sentiment following a return of the world’s second-biggest economy into manufacturing expansion mode. Official, Caixin March manufacturing PMIs at above 50 China methanol, SM futures prices lead gains External demand picking up for selected goods At the close of morning trade, futures prices of major petrochemicals in Chinese commodity exchanges were up by 0.2% to 1.7%. China petrochemical futures markets Prices as of 03:30 GMT (CNY/tonne) % change vs 29 March Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) 8,279 0.60% Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) 5,803 0.20% Ethylene glycol (EG) 4,499 0.50% Polypropylene (PP) 7,542 0.80% Styrene monomer (SM) 9,451 1.40% Paraxylene* 8,534 0.70% Purified terephthalic acid (PTA) * 6,016 1.30% Methanol* 2,518 1.70% Sources: Dalian Commodity Exchange, *Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange At midday, Brent crude was up 30 cents at $87.30/bbl, while US crude gained 31 cents at $83.48/bbl. Crude futures were also supported by expectations of tighter supply amid output cuts by OPEC and its allies, which include Russia. Manufacturing activity in China expanded for the first time in six months, based on official data in March, generating a purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reading of 50.8, as companies accelerated production following the Lunar New Year holiday in the previous month. A separate reading by Chinese media group Caixin was more upbeat, with a higher March PMI reading of 51.1, the highest recorded since February 2023. In Caixin’s data, factory output continued to expand for the fifth straight month. The Caixin PMI surveys small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and export-oriented enterprises located in eastern coastal regions, while the official PMI is tilted toward larger state-owned enterprises. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below denotes contraction. “Both supply and demand expanded at a faster pace amid the market upturn. In March, growth in manufacturers’ output and total new orders accelerated, with the former hitting a 10-month high,” Caixin Insight Group senior economist Wang Zhe said. “External demand also picked up pace thanks to the recovery in the global economy, pushing the gauge for new export orders to its highest level since February 2023,” the economist added. “Overall, the manufacturing sector continued to improve in March, with expansion in supply and demand accelerating, and overseas demand picking up,” Wang said. “Manufacturers increased purchases and raw material inventories amid continued improvement in business optimism. However, employment remained in contraction and a depressed price level worsened,” Wang added Besides the seasonal effect, firming overseas demand also helped to push up Chinese factory activities, local brokerage Haitong Securities wrote in a note, citing that furniture, transportation equipment and electronics were enjoying strong demand. China is projected to post around a 5% GDP growth this year, slower than the 5.2% pace recorded in 2023, with a slumping property sector posing a major drag on overall economic prospects. Property and other related sectors account for about a fifth of China’s GDP. While the property slump may persist, other sectors such as electric vehicles, new energy and digital economy are posting healthy growth, said Zhang Junfeng, senior analyst at Shenzhen-based brokerage China Merchant Securities. Focus article by Fanny Zhang ($1 = CNY7.23) Additional reporting by Nurluqman Suratman Thumbnail image: At Lianyungang Port in east China's Jiangsu Province, 26 March 2024. (Shutterstock)

01-Apr-2024

LOGISTICS: No impact yet on shipping rates after Baltimore bridge collapse; Asia-US container rates fall further

HOUSTON (ICIS)–The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is wreaking havoc on logistics and freight movements in the immediate region, but the incident has yet to have any impact on shipping rates, and costs for shipping containers from Asia to the US continue to fall, highlighting this week’s logistics roundup. PORT OF BALTIMORE The Port of Baltimore remains closed to all vessel traffic following the bridge collapse early Tuesday morning. The unified command (UC) said on-scene crews continue to assess and monitor for spilled oils and hazardous substances to prevent further discharge or release into the marine environment as 14 containers on the Dali that were holding hazardous materials were impacted during the collision. The chemical components assessed were soap products, perfume products, or not otherwise specified resins, the UC said. Salvage efforts have begun but will take some time and according to the local US Coast Guard authorities the port is officially closed for the near future. Some of the chemical products most likely impacted are caustic soda, veg oil, base oils, ethanol, biodiesel and a variety of others. South African producer Sasol told ICIS that a terminal inside the port with the company’s name has not been used by the company since it opened its major facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Specialty chemical producer WR Grace has a terminal in the port, according to a map of the port on the Maryland state government’s website. The company did not immediately respond on Friday to questions about the terminal. The port is one of the largest in the US for auto imports and exports. Global shipping major MSC is advising customers that passage to and from the port will not be established “for weeks if not months”. Containers already on the water will be rerouted and discharged at an alternate port where they will be made available for pick-up upon completion of the usual import documentary procedure, MSC said. Customers with containers at the origin, whether gated in or booked but not yet gated, need to contact the origin booking office immediately to decide whether they wish for the cargo to be carried to the alternate ports in the US. Judah Levine, head of research at online freight shipping marketplace and platform provider Freightos, said more vessels arriving at alternative ports, or longer port calls as vessels offload more containers, could cause some congestion at those ports, meaning delays for shippers. “But ocean freight is now in its slow season between Lunar New Year and peak season that typically starts in June or July,” Levine said. “And at the moment there is no significant congestion at any of the major East Coast ports.” CONTAINER RATES FALL FURTHER Average global rates for shipping containers continue to fall after surging in December when Houthi rebels began attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. Shippers began to divert away from the Suez Canal because of the attacks, which added days and sometimes weeks to traditional trade routes and tightened available capacity. Shippers brought all floating capacity online, increased sailing speeds and brought into service newbuilds to help alleviate the situation. Softer overall demand also helped ease stressed supply chains. Average rates and rates from Shanghai to the US and Europe have fallen steadily since the first of the year according to supply chain advisors Drewry and as shown in the following charts. Levine said the Baltimore closure could put some upward pressure on rates but that he expects it would be temporary. Container ships and costs for shipping containers are relevant to the chemical industry because while most chemicals are liquids and are shipped in tankers, container ships transport polymers, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which are shipped in pellets. They also transport liquid chemicals in isotanks. LIQUID TANKER RATES STEADY While many tanker shipping routes from the Americas remained subdued with no significant price changes, the Transatlantic eastbound route remains firm as there continues to be a lot of interest seen in the market this week, although space remains tight. On the bunker side, fuel prices have been steadily decreasing as well on the back of softer energy prices; however, week over week remain relatively mixed. PANAMA CANAL Wait times for non-booked vessels ready for transit edged higher this week, according to the PCA's vessel tracker and as shown in the following image. Wait times last week were 1.2 days for northbound traffic and 1.4 days for southbound traffic. Additional reporting by Kevin Callahan Thumbnail image shows the Dali and the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, from www.keybridgeresponse2024.com

29-Mar-2024

PRC '24: PODCAST ICIS recycled plastics experts highlight key topics, trends for week ahead

Grapevine, TEXAS (ICIS)–The Plastics Recycling Conference is underway in Grapevine, Texas, and Senior Market Editor Emily Friedman and Senior Analyst Andrea Bassetti break down the key topics among discussions and presentations at the show: US R-PET market experiencing a divergence from historic trend, as well as stark regional differences Chemical recycling capacities still set to grow through 2028 Recycling markets facing virgin, import price pressure and sluggish demand in H1 2024 To learn more, ICIS recycled plastics experts Emily Friedman and Andrea Bassetti will be giving a presentation "Insights from the Analysts" on Wednesday, 27 March at 10:00AM CST. The Plastics Recycling Conference (PRC) takes place on 25-27 March in Grapevine, Texas. Please reach out on LinkedIn to connect with us at the show!

26-Mar-2024

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