Recycled polyolefins (R-PE, R-PP)

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Discover the factors influencing recycled polyolefins (R-PE, R-PP) markets

Recycled polyolefins (R-PE, R-PP) markets are increasingly complex and competitive. As new regulations are introduced, supply chains mature, and consumer pressure against single-use plastic intensifies, the need for clarity grows. Commercial decisions backed by benchmarked prices and robust analysis of demand-supply fundamentals are critical to navigating this successfully.

To make the most of new opportunities in recycled polymers, it is vital to understand, anticipate and evaluate the impact of brand sustainability targets and supply and demand shifts – both on your business and the wider industry.

Access comprehensive market intelligence globally for recycled polyolefins from trusted experts based within the regions. ICIS assesses more than 70 grades of R-PE and R-PP globally. Our assessments span from waste bales through to flakes and pellets, and across post-consumer, post-industrial rigid and flexible sectors, for R-HDPE, R-LDPE and R-PP, supporting sound decision making through all stages of the chain.

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R-PE, R-PP news

LOGISTICS: Asia-US container rates fall; tanker rates stable to softer; bridge collapse causing delays

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Shipping container rates continue to fall, liquid chemical tanker rates are stable to softer, and the bridge collapse at the Port of Baltimore has led to longer delivery times for imports, highlighting this week’s logistics roundup. CONTAINER RATES Rates for shipping containers from east Asia and China to the US continue to fall along with average global rates as capacity remains ample to handle the longer routes as commercial vessels continue to avoid the Suez Canal. Supply chain advisors Drewry said average rates ticked lower this week but remain 64% higher than the same week a year ago, as shown in the following chart. Rates from Asia to the US and Europe have also continued to fall, as shown in the following chart. Drewry said it expects a minor decrease in Transpacific spot rates and for stability along the Transatlantic and Asia-Europe trade lanes. Judah Levine, head of research at online freight shipping marketplace and platform provider Freightos, said rates along the US East Coast have fallen since the collapse of the Key Bridge in Baltimore, which signals to him that regional container traffic continues to flow. Levine said downward pressure will continue because of soft demand and it being the slow season for container trade, but that if threats persist in the Red Sea and commercial vessels continue to divert away from the Suez Canal, prices will remain above normal. 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. PORT OF BALTIMORE The Unified Command (UC) continues to remove containers from the Dali and clear wreckage from the collapsed bridge at the entrance to the Port of Baltimore. Source: Key Bridge Response 2024 While the closure of the port has not had a direct impact on the flow of chemicals, a market participant in Ohio said it is seeing delays in delivery times for imports as vessels originally destined to offload in Baltimore are getting re-routed to other ports. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) expects to open a limited access channel 280 feet wide and 35 feet deep by the end of April, and are aiming to reopen the permanent, 700-foot-wide by 50-foot-deep federal navigation channel by the end of May, restoring port access to normal capacity. As of 11 April, approximately 38 containers have been removed, the UC said, which is necessary for safe access to them begin removing the segments of the fallen bridge that lie across the ship’s bow. While marine traffic is still limited, 69 vessels have transited through since the creation of the temporary alternate channels. LIQUID CHEM TANKERS US liquid chemical tanker freight rates as assessed by ICIS held mostly steady this week – except from the US Gulf Coast (USG) to India. There is downward pressure on rates along the USG-Asia trade lane as several outsiders have come on berth for both April and May, adding to the available tonnage for completion cargos. On the other hand, rates from the USG to Rotterdam were steady this week even as space is limited and there are no outsiders on berth. Contract tonnage continues to prevail, with continued interest in styrene, MTBE and ethanol. There has been activity on the spot market, but owners are still working with COA customers to finalize their needs before committing to others. For the USG to South America trade lane rates remain steady with several inquiries for methanol widely viewed in the market. PANAMA CANAL Wait times for non-booked vessels ready for transit edged higher both directions this week, according to the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) vessel tracker and as shown in the following image. Wait times last week were 0.8 days for northbound traffic and 0.8 days for southbound traffic. Please see the Logistics: Impact on chemicals and energy topic page With additional reporting by Emily Friedman and Kevin Callahan

12-Apr-2024

VIDEO: Europe R-PET colourless flake rise in NWE, UK while Polish bales fall

LONDON (ICIS)–Senior Editor for Recycling, Matt Tudball, discusses the latest developments in the European recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) market, including: Colourless (C) flake prices rise in NWE, UK EU Commission definitive ADD on Chinese PET, R-PET come into force Polish C bales drop from March highs Food-grade pellet demand uncertain ahead of 2025

12-Apr-2024

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

PODCAST: 2024 Plastics Recycling Conference recap and key takeaways

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Analyst Joshua Dill, Senior Analyst Andrea Bassetti, and Senior Market Editor Emily Friedman reflect on their experiences and key takeaways from the 2024 Plastics Recycling Conference in Grapevine, Texas. They dive into various topics regarding notable trends, legislation, chemical recycling and more.

02-Apr-2024

BLOG: China may see either annual average PP net imports of 4.9m tonnes or net exports of 7.2m tonnes in 2024-2030

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson. China could end up as the world’s second-biggest polypropylene (PP) net exporter in 2024-2030 behind the Middle East. Today’s scenarios involve China seeing average annual PP net imports of 4.9m tonnes in 2024-2030 (the ICIS base case), average annual net exports of 1.7m tonnes under Downside 1, or annual average net exports of 7.2m tonnes under Downside 2. Downside 2 – where China could be second the global export league table behind the Middle East – seems very unlikely given rising trade tensions. Nevertheless, both the downsides in today’s post demonstrate just how much the petrochemicals markets in general have changed since late 2021. Only two-and-half years ago, you had to make such big adjustments to the ICIS base cases to get to significantly increased rates of China PP and other petrochemicals self-sufficiency that the adjustments didn't make sense. Now, just relatively minor changes are required to produce big declines in China's projected net imports because of the following: The collapse of the property developer Evergrande in September 2021 signalled that China had moved into an era of lower economic and therefore petrochemicals demand growth. I flagged this up at the time and it has now become accepted wisdom. The end of the property bubble, worth some 29% of China’s GDP, has occurred as China’s ageing population exerts more downward pressure on the economy. A lot more new petrochemicals capacity has been added in China. And here’s the thing: There’s a total of 10.5m tonnes/year of unconfirmed China PP capacity in the ICIS Supply & Demand Database between 2024 and 2030 that are not factored into any of today’s trade-flow scenarios. China has pretty much bankrolled the global petrochemicals industry since 1992, the year of Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour. Such was the subsequent strength of China’s consumption growth versus insufficient investment in local capacity that the petrochemicals industry became over-reliant in lucky events in just one country. Now our luck has run out. Editor’s note: This blog post is an opinion piece. The views expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of ICIS.

02-Apr-2024

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