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
Updated to Q3 2019
Supply levels turned around in the third quarter with ample availability. The lack of global demand left many suppliers with surplus material to try to place. This meant a wide variety of producers offered material into a quiet African market. This has continued until September when the attacks on Saudi Arabian petroleum infrastructure created some limitations. Buyers however could rely on healthy stocks in the short term.
Demand was low seasonally but also in response to a weak global buying environment. There was little pressure to purchase as aggressive competition between suppliers saw prices fall and supply ample. Healthy stocks allowed buyers to sit out the panic created following the attacks in Saudi Arabia in mid September. Other issues limiting demand, included the rainy season, foreign exchange issues in west Africa and Egypt cutting fuel subsidies.
PP supply tightness eased in the first half of Q3, as several producers in the region returned from outages in Q2. Some suppliers cut offers in late August in order to offload larger volumes. The Saudi oil infrastructure attacks in September resulted in perceived supply tightness, with concerns surfacing that a disruption in upstream oil production may consequently limit polymer availability downstream. However, October shipment spot availability was not as heavily impacted as some expected.
Demand saw a slight up-tick in July, as converters sought to build up resin stock levels after several months of buying on an as-needed basis. However, demand eventually fizzled out across the Eid ul-Adha holiday in mid-August, which is celebrated by predominantly Muslim countries. Demand gained momentum once again in the second half of September, as buyers hurried to secure some lots amid concerns that supply may tighten owing to the attacks on Saudi oil facilities.
Polypropylene (PP) supply in Europe was not affected by planned cracker outages, and propylene remains long. PP is not long, but sources can generally buy what they need when they need it. A couple of smaller force majeures have had little impact on supply. Spot homopolymer imported volumes have been available in their normal volume, with some copolymer grades more available than usual. Copolymer supply is longer, thought to be down to poor automotive demand.
Polypropylene (PP) demand in Europe has been steady, but volumes annually so far are not as strong as 2018, according to sources. The slump in automotive demand accounts for this to an extent, but It is not clear whether anti-plastic sentiment downstream is yet having an impact on volumes. Sources upstream and downstream are aware of the pressing need to conform to new regulations that will affect demand for virgin product.
Supply among regional producers stayed tight, capped by a lack of inventories following scheduled and unplanned outages at multiple GCC facilities. Stronger demand emerging from key Asian markets additionally restricted supply to the region. A disruption in feedstock availability following the attack on Saudi Arabian petroleum infrastructure in mid-September was lower than initially expected but has impacted the availability for October. This limited a downward push to prices in Q3 despite seasonally slow demand.
Demand emerged seasonally weaker in July and stayed soft through August, owing to a seasonal lull in the downstream construction sector during the peak summer season. With a large majority of the population also traveling outside of the region during the summer holidays, demand stayed soft through the first two months of Q3. Despite expectations of a seasonal uptick September onwards, demand stayed largely sluggish as the US-China trade war contributed to significant uncertainty.
Turkish PP supply has been ample for the majority of the quarter, following a lack of fibre in the second quarter. Long holiday periods helped ease the burden and the acceleration of US-China trade war has displaced a lot of material. PP offers into Turkey diversified in July and August. The end of September has seen some tightening, due to Middle East production issues.
Demand levels have been low and flat for most of the quarter, hitting some particular lows around religious holidays. Buying interest has spiked in September but concluded deals have not matched inquiries. Buyers are acting cautiously and relying on stocks where possible, due to poor margins.
US polypropylene (PP) supply remained long during the third quarter. Planned shutdowns, flooding in parts of the US Gulf Coast during hurricane season and attacks on Saudi Arabian oil infrastructure all failed to result in any real tightening in PP availability. Propylene supplies also remained long, supported high operating rates at PP plants.
US polypropylene (PP) demand was flat to lower during the quarter. Global manufacturing activity has been slowing and US manufacturing data began to show signs of weakening towards the end of quarter. Weakness in the global automotive sector weighed on sentiment in the PP market and helped to keep consumption growth constrained.
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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 (PP) is one of the most versatile of the bulk polymers. Its intrinsic properties of high stiffness, good tensile strength, good processability and inertness towards acid
This document is intended to provide methodology support for customers receiving the ICIS Weekly Margin – PP Asia report.
This document is intended to provide methodology support for customers receiving the ICIS Weekly Margin – PP China report.
Polypropylene Europe Margin Report Methodology
This document is intended to provide methodology support for customers receiving the ICIS Weekly Margin – PP Europe report.
The ICIS Polypropylene (PP) price forecasting model is a brief monthly publication that can be accessed via the Dashboard.
The main method of PP manufacture is by using refinery grade propylene (RGP), produced by a refinery, to convert to polymer grade propylene (PGP) through a superfractionation unit.
The ICIS Polypropylene (PP) USA price forecast report is a monthly publication that can be accessed via the Dashboard.
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.
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