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.
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Updated to Q2 2019
Most polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producers were operating their plants at high rates, albeit with narrower margins in Q2. The quarter saw two plant outages, one in Taiwan due to maintenance and the other in India due to a feedstock purified terephthalic acid (PTA) shortage. Less-than-ideal margins led one Chinese and one Middle East producer to cut operating rates to 80% capacity. The overall high operating rates kept supply ample.
The seasonal peak demand for summer in the northern hemisphere starts in Q2. Demand improved from the previous quarter although it was still below expectations because of the cooler temperatures in many countries. In the spot market, Q2 demand was down from previous years due to heavy pre-buying in Q4 2018, as buyers sought to secure cargoes after enduring a shortage in Q2 2018.
There was a glut of product in early 2019, a stark contrast to 2018 when unplanned disruptions along the chain created supply chaos. Producers subsequently proposed increased conversion fees for 2019, which buyers thought to be exaggerated enough to seek alternative sourcing. This led to over 400,000 tonnes of imports arriving in the first four months of the year, according to Eurostat data. This, the cold weather and macroeconomic uncertainty led to reduced European output.
Requirements normally pick up in preparation for the peak bottling season and consumption during the hot weather months. However, 2019 proved to be exceptionally cold in the lead-up, and domestic sales were hampered by the arrival of imports that flooded the market. Stocks grew enough for European PET production to be reduced. The geopolitical and macroeconomic situation created nervousness among buyers.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) supply in Latin America in Q2 was assessed as ample with plenty of domestic and offshore offers. Offers from Mexico, the US and Asia were frequent and in competition with each other as well as with cheaply-priced Chinese product. Asian offers along the Pacific coast of South America were frequent given the excess of material in Asia. Supply in Argentina and Brazil was ample even though operating rates in both countries were lowered in an attempt to balance the market.
PET demand in Latin America decreased on the back of seasonality and struggling economies in the region. The approach of winter dampened buying interest in most countries. Demand in Mexico was stronger than the rest of the Latin America due to its geographical location, but it was not as good as anticipated because of cooler weather conditions that drove production rates down.
US polyethylene terephthalate (PET) supply during Q2 was ample with abundant offers for domestic and offshore material. Operating rates were reduced in an effort to balance the market as cooler-than-expected weather conditions and the US-China trade war dampened business activity. Tariff threats on Mexican imports and subsequent talks between the leaders of the two countries in June also contributed to sluggish trading activity.
US PET demand in Q2 was sluggish despite expectations of an improvement in buying interest ahead of the upcoming traditional peak summer demand season. The weak demand situation was attributed to cooler-than-normal weather conditions, declining global prices of feedstock paraxylene (PX) and the US-China trade war. Demand was expected to pick up towards the end of the quarter, but no significant improvement was noted.
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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.
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