Recycled polyolefins (R-PE, R-PP)

Driving the circular economy with actionable data on recycled plastics

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.

ICIS also offers mixed polyolefin bale prices as part of its Mixed Plastic Waste and Pyrolysis Oil (Europe) pricing service.

ICIS training

Keep up to date in today’s rapidly evolving commodity markets with expert online and in-person workshops and courses covering chemical and energy supply chains and market dynamics. ICIS offers a range of introductory and advanced topics as well as bespoke, in-house training.

Learn about our solutions for R-PE, R-PP

Pricing, news and analysis

Maximise profitability in uncertain markets with ICIS’ full range of solutions for R-PE and R-PP, including current and historic pricing, forecasts, supply and demand data, and news and analysis.

Data solutions

Learn about Insight, Hindsight and Foresight, our dedicated commodity solutions accessible through our subscriber platform, ICIS ClarityTM or Data as a Service channels.

Stay competitive in your circularity journey

Optimise costs and empower strategic decisions with Asia Recycled Polypropylene pricing data.

R-PE, R-PP news

VIDEO: China's LDPE market weakens as supply tightness eases

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS senior industry analyst Joanne Wang discuss the driving factors behind the China's low density polyethylene (LDPE) price fluctuations this year and briefly discuss prospects for the second half of this year. Q2 LDPE prices rose sharply due to concentrated maintenance at home and abroad. Imported shipments arrived in late June, and coupled with limited domestic demand growth, prices fell. New facilities may start up in Q4, leading to further increases in domestic supply.


BLOG: China events suggest no global petchems recovery until 2026

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson. Conventional wisdom suggests that the petrochemicals cycle may have bottomed out as the prospects of interest rate cuts increase. There are signs of recovery in the Europe. And even in a high inflationary environment, the US consumer kept on spending with unemployment at record lows. This, in my view, is a misreading of the data. Because of the disproportionate influence of China, what happens elsewhere doesn't really matter in the short- to medium-term. China had a 22% share of the global population in 1992 and a 9% share of global polymers demand. By the end of this year, ICIS forecasts that China’s share of the global population will have slipped to 18%, but its share of global polymers demand will have risen to 40%. Too much global capacity was planned on the basis of China’s petrochemicals demand growth being at 6-8% per annum over the long term, whereas 1-4% now appears to be more likely. China’s petrochemicals capacity growth was underestimated because of cost-per-tonne economics used to assess projects. History teaches us is that national strategic objective also come into play. One can argue, as the Rhodium Group does in an 18 July 2024 research paper, that China’s economic growth may never return to previous levels. This would mean no return to the double-digit annual growth rates we saw in petrochemicals demand during the Petrochemicals Supercycle. In today’s main chart, I kept to our base case assumptions on global polypropylene (PP) virgin production growth between 2024 and 2030, which is almost the same as demand growth. I then manually reduced capacity growth until I got back to the historically very healthy operating rate of 87% (operating rates being production divided by capacity). (What applies to PP applies to other petrochemicals and polymers. The ICIS data for other products suggest similar steep reductions in capacity growth versus our base to get back to the long-term history of operating rates). This led me to the conclusion that global PP capacity growth would need to be just 1.6m tonnes a year versus 5m tonnes a year under our base case. Under our base case, we see global operating rates averaging just 76% in 2024-2030. Capacity growth of just 1.6m tonnes a year versus our base case would require substantial capacity closures in some regions. Closures are never easy and take considerable time because links with upstream refineries, environmental clean-up and redundancy costs – and the reluctance to be the “first plant out” in case markets suddenly recover. The sale of rationalisation suggested by just 1.6m tonnes a year of capacity growth therefore suggests no full recovery in PP and in other petrochemicals until, I am guessing, 2026. 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.


Mexico petchems could have more opportunities under Sheinbaum amid nearshoring – Braskem Idesa exec

LONDON (ICIS)–Mexican petrochemicals have much to gain under President-Elect Claudia Sheinbaum as the country taps into the nearshoring trend, which will require large public and private investments, according to an executive at polymers producer Braskem Idesa. Sergio Plata, head of institutional relations and communications at the mostly polyethylene (PE) producer, added that nearshoring – North American companies bringing back to the region production facilities – will require a large country effort, which the public sector alone now dominates the energy sector, will not be able to provide. Plata added that the first signs from Sheinbaum towards chemicals were encouraging: even as President-Elect, she has already visited the petrochemicals production hub in the state of Veracruz – the largest in the country. In it, she mentioned specific industry issues such as supply of certain raw materials which were very much welcomed by executives. Last week, ICIS published the first part of this interview, in which Plata said supply of ethane from Mexico’s state-owned crude oil major Pemex had stabilized after a renegotiation of the contract’s terms, although he added global PE market remained in the doldrums and a recovery may not arrive until the second half of 2025. Braskem Idesa operates the Ethylene XXI complex in Coatzacoalcos, south of the industrial state of Veracruz, which has capacity to produce 1.05 million tonnes/year of ethylene and downstream capacities of 750,000 tonnes/year for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and 300,000 tonnes/year for low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Braskem Idesa is a joint venture made up of Brazil’s polymers major Braskem (75%) and Mexican chemical producer Grupo Idesa (25%). WHAT SORT OF PRESIDENT SHE WILL BESheinbaum won an overwhelming majority in the Presidential election in June, with 60% of the vote, and her party Morena achieved a ‘supermajority’ in parliament of two-thirds which initially spooked financial markets and brought the Mexican peso down. Financial analysts have warned that, for Mexico to tap into the nearshoring trend, its infrastructure – transport but also aged electricity transmission lines – will need to be upgraded during the remaining of this decade. That effort, most analysts agree, will only be possible with large sums of private investment, so the state-owned electricity utility CFE may need to give some way to private players. Equally, during Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s term, Mexico’s emissions rose, in opposition to the country’s commitments agreed in the 2015 Paris Accord and later enshrined into its domestic law. Lopez Obrador handpicked Sheinbaum to succeed him. Despite not being that apart generationally – he is 70, she is 62 – the President-Elect is a climate scientist who started her career in environmental roles, and most analysts think she may run free from her successor – by personal choice or forced by the circumstances – in issues like climate, if she wants to keep Mexico as a respected economy which fulfils its commitments. “I think she has a very clear vision in this regard – she knows the commitments [Mexico adhered to]. Something we are liking a lot is the appointments she is making – people with experience to work in the departments they are being appointed to: they have the necessary technical knowledge,” said Plata. “We have also seen her approaching the private sector and that, without a doubt, for us as an industry that is a very good start. In those meetings, our concerns about compliance with regulations have been raised. Something is very clear: to grasp the opportunities in nearshoring, collaboration with private sector is essential to bring real benefits to all Mexicans.” Plata said that, while Sheinbaum has not met Braskem Idesa yet, she has had a busy schedule meeting with industrialists, including with the country’s chemicals trade group Aniq as well as the Veracruz industrial trade group, which Plata presides. “When she visited the south of Veracruz, she talked about reactivating the petrochemical industry, and talked about very specific issues that the industry is worried about, such production of ethane, of ethylene, of ammonia: things that sounded very good to us,” said Plata. MEXICO, VENEZUELA COMPARISONSHe was asked if, given Morena’s ‘supermajority’ in parliament, Mexico could become a new Venezuela – when the governing party takes over all resorts of power and the country stops being a democracy worth the name. “I really believe that her vision is constructive, and she intends to work with the private sector so her Administration can work for everyone. We will have to see what decisions she takes along the way. For instance, she has spoken many times about the interoceanic corridor [a project to link Mexico’s east and west coasts by water],” said Plata. “Precisely, the promotion of the corridor has at its base the chemicals and the petrochemicals industries, because one of the objectives of the corridor is to take advantage of the raw materials in the area, which would benefit petrochemicals but also agriculture, for instance, and give added value. We see plenty of opportunities there.” Front page picture: Braskem Idesa’s facilities in Coatzacoalcos Source: Braskem Idesa Interview article by Jonathan Lopez


Latin America stories: weekly summary

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Here are some of the stories from ICIS Latin America for the week ended on 19 July. NEWS Braskem Idesa ethane supply more stable, PE prices to recover in H2 2025 – exec Supply of ethane from Pemex to polyethylene (PE) producer Braskem Idesa is now more stable after a renegotiation of the contract – but the global PE market remains in the doldrums, according to an executive at the Mexican firm. INSIGHT: Colombia’s wide single-use plastics ban kicks off amid industry reluctance Colombia’s single-use plastic ban, which affects a wide range of products, kicks off amid some industry reluctance after a hurried implementation, and with provisions to revise the legislation after a one year trial period. Brazil’s chemicals capacity utilization falls to record low in May at 58% The utilization rate at Brazil's chemical plants fell to 58% in May, the lowest level since records began in 1990, the country’s chemicals trade group Abiquim said on Wednesday. Brazil’s floods hit GDP growth in 2024 but strong recovery in 2025 – IMF The IMF has revised Brazil’s economic outlook for 2024, with GDP growth now forecast at 2.1%, down from an earlier projection of 2.2%, because of the floods in Rio Grande do Sul. Mota-Engil, PEMEX agree to build new ammonia, urea and AdBlue plant in Mexico Mota-Engil, through its subsidiary MOTA-ENGIL MEXICO, has signed an agreement with Pemex Transformación Industrial, a subsidiary of state-owned energy major Petróleos Mexicanos (“PEMEX”), to construct a fertilizer plant in Escolin in the state of Vera Cruz. Harvest Minerals undertakes rare earth elements exploration at Brazil fertilizer project Fertilizer producer Harvest Minerals announced a two-phase rare earth elements exploration program has commenced at its Arapua project in Brazil. Stolthaven Terminals chosen as potential operator for Brazil green ammonia export terminal Logistics firm Stolthaven Terminals announced that in cooperation with Global Energy Storage (GES), it has been selected as the only potential operator to design, build and operate a green ammonia terminal in Brazil to be located within the industrial export zone at Pecem in the state of Ceara. Silver Valley Metals selling Idaho project to refocus on Mexico lithium and SOP project Brownfield exploration company Silver Valley Metals announced it has signed an asset purchase agreement for the Ranger-Page project in Idaho which will allow it to refocus efforts at its lithium and potash project in central Mexico. BHP enters into further agreement with Vale over 2015 Brazil dam failure BHP announced it has entered into an agreement with Vale regarding group action proceedings in the UK in respect of the Fundao Dam failure in Brazil which occurred in 2015. PRICING Lat Am PE international prices stable to up on higher US export offers International polyethylene (PE) prices were assessed as steady to higher across Latin American countries on the back of higher US export offers. PP domestic prices fall in Argentina on sluggish demand, ample supply Domestic polypropylene (PP) prices were assessed lower in Argentina on the back of sluggish demand and ample supply. In other Latin American countries, prices were unchanged. US Gulf sees PVC price decline, Latin America stays stable Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) demand in Brazil has shown fluctuations from weak-to-stable this July, accompanied by sufficient supply. Although market prices have stabilized, local prices continue to face pressure following a recent price drop in the US Gulf market.


PODCAST: Europe PET, R-PET face uncertain H2 2024

LONDON (ICIS)–Senior editor for polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Caroline Murray, and senior editor for Recycling, Matt Tudball, discuss the current state of the PET and recycled PET (R-PET) markets and the uncertainties that both face for the rest of the year, including: Lower-than-expected PET demand PET exports head out of Europe High freight costs hit imports Upcoming recycled content targets for R-PET Lack of clarity about recycling legislation Limited availability of food-grade R-PET pellets


India's RIL fiscal Q1 oil-to-chemicals earnings fall 14% on poor margins

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL) oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business posted a 14.3% year-on-year drop in earnings in its fiscal first quarter ending June 2024 on poor chemicals margins, the Indian conglomerate said. O2C results in 10 million rupees (Rs) Apr-June 2024 Apr-June 2023 % Change Revenue 157,133 133,031 18.1 EBITDA 13,093 15,286 -14.3 Exports 71,463 69,006 3.6 – Revenue for the period rose primarily on the back of higher product prices in line with Brent crude price gains, and increased volumes due to strong domestic demand, the company said on 19 July. – Fiscal Q1 overall earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin dropped to 8.3% from 11.5% in the same period of last year. – On a year-on-year basis, April-June domestic polymer and polyester demand increased by 8% and 5%, respectively. – RIL's consolidated group profit after tax fell by 4% year on year to Rp175 billion ($2.09 billion) in April-June 2024. Polymers- Fiscal Q1 polymer margins were down by 0.5% to 16.9% year on year due to firm naphtha prices. Product margin over naphtha April-June 2024 ($/tonne) April-June 2023 ($/tonne) % Change Polyethylene (PE) 330 397 -16.9% Polypropylene (PP) 318 381 -16.5% Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) 371 373 -0.5% Polyester – Paraxylene (PX) and monoethylene glycol (MEG) margins over naphtha decreased year on year due to higher naphtha prices. – "PTA [purified terephthalic acid] margins were impacted adversely due to high inventory with Chinese producers and increased competition," the company said. – On a year-on-year basis, domestic polyester demand in fiscal Q1 increased by 5%, driven by strong growth in PET, which was up 27% due to "higher demand from the beverage segment on account of summer season and elections". ($1 = Rs83.7)


SHIPPING: Global container rates edge higher, volumes shifting to West Coast ahead of tariffs

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Global shipping container rates edged slightly higher this week as they continue to moderate after more than doubling from early-May, and rates from Shanghai to the US West Coast fell, according to supply chain advisors Drewry. Drewry’s composite World Container Index (WCI) rose by just 1% and is up by just 1.2% over the past two week, as shown in the following chart. Average rates from China to the US East Coast have continued to rise and are nearing $10,000/FEU (40-foot equivalent unit), as shown in the following chart. Drewry expects ex-China rates to hold steady next week and remain high throughout the peak season. Rates from online freight shipping marketplace and platform provider Freightos showed similar rates of increase. Judah Levine, head of research at Freightos, in noting the slower rate of increase also pointed to signs that prices may have already peaked. “Daily rates so far this week are ticking lower and major carriers have not announced surcharge increases for later this month or August,” Levine said. Levine said peak season likely started early this year as retailers ordered early to beat possible labor issues at US Gulf and East Coast ports and as consumers continued to spend on goods. Emily Stausboll, senior shipping analyst at ocean and freight rate analytics firm Xeneta, said she is seeing some carriers already lowering spot rates. “This suggests a growing level of available capacity in the market and shippers can once again start to play carriers off against each other – instead of feeling they need to pay whatever price they are offered to secure space. As the balance of negotiating power starts to swing back towards shippers, we should see spot rates start to come back down,” Stausboll said. 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), are shipped in pellets. They also transport liquid chemicals in isotanks. VOLUMES SHIFT TO WEST COAST The Port of Los Angeles saw a 10% increase from the previous month and a slight increase year on year in volumes, Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles said. Some retailers are rushing to import volumes ahead of the US presidential election in November as Republican nominee Donald Trump has proposed hiking tariffs, especially on goods from China. But a persistently strong economy is also supporting the rise in imports. “The US economy continues to be the primary driver of our cargo volume and I expect to see that continue in the months ahead,” Seroka said. Many importers shifted their deliveries to the US East Coast in 2022 when congestion at West Coast ports surged amid strong consumer demand coming out of the pandemic. The shift in volumes from the East Coast has not led to any congestions at the West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California (MESC). “Vessels and cargo arriving, departing, and shifting around the ports of LA and LB and continue to move normally with no labor delays and ample labor,” MESC executive director Kip Louttit said. Louttit also said the forecast for arriving container ships over the next two weeks is trending higher. LIQUID CHEM TANKER RATES Rates for liquid chemical tankers ex-US Gulf were stable to softer this week, with decreases seen on the USG-Asia and USG-Brazil trade lanes. From the USG to Asia, there has still been interest in large cargoes, but volumes overall have been slowing down. The absence of market participants has caused freight rates to stumble some, with more downward pressure on smaller parcels due to the small pockets of space readily available. From the USG to Brazil, the list of ships open in the USG continues to grow, with space still available which could lead to continued downward pressure and even lower rates. Activity typically picks up during summer months, but this is not currently being seen. PANAMA CANAL The Panama Canal will limit transits from 3-4 August because of planned maintenance. The east lane of the Miraflores locks will be out of service for concrete maintenance on the east approach wall, the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) said. The PCA began limiting transits in July 2023 because of low water levels in Gatun Lake caused by an extended drought. Restrictions have gradually eased over the past few months and are approaching the average daily transits of 36-38/day seen prior to impacts from the drought. The improved conditions at the canal are likely to improve transit times for vessels traveling between the US Gulf and Asia, as well as between Europe and west coast Latin America countries. This should benefit chemical markets that move product between regions. Wait times for non-booked southbound vessels ready for transit have been relatively steady at less than two days, according to the PCA vessel tracker. Wait times were less than a day for northbound vessels and less than two days for southbound traffic. Focus article by Adam Yanelli With additional reporting by Kevin Callahan Visit the ICIS Logistics – impact on chemicals and energy topic page.


VIDEO: Eastern Europe R-PET colourless flake, bale prices turn bullish

LONDON (ICIS)–Senior editor for recycling Matt Tudball discusses the latest developments in the European recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) market, including: Bullish outlook for eastern Europe bales and flake Upwards pressure appearing when market usually quietens down for summer Wider market expects bale supply to improve during August Outlook from September onwards still uncertain


Braskem Idesa ethane supply more stable, PE prices to recover in H2 2025 – exec

MADRID (ICIS)–Supply of ethane from Pemex to polyethylene (PE) producer Braskem Idesa is now more stable after a renegotiation of the contract – but the global PE market remains in the doldrums, according to an executive at the Mexican firm. Sergio Plata, head of institutional relations and communications at Braskem Idesa, said a recovery in global PE prices could start in the second half of 2025 as the market is expected to remain oversupplied in the coming quarters. Plata explained how Braskem Idesa had to renegotiate the terms of an agreement with Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned crude oil major, for the supply of natural gas-based ethane, one of the routes to produce PE, to its facilities in Coatzacoalcos. Supply is now more stable and in the quantities agreed, he said. Braskem Idesa operates the Ethylene XXI complex in Coatzacoalcos, south of the industrial state of Veracruz, which has capacity to produce 1.05 million tonnes/year of ethylene and downstream capacities of 750,000 tonnes/year for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and 300,000 tonnes/year for low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Braskem Idesa is a joint venture made up of Brazil’s polymers major Braskem (75%) and Mexican chemical producer Grupo Idesa (25%). ETHANE FLOWING, TERMINAL IN Q1 2025 Pemex agreed with Braskem Idesa to supply the PE producer with a minimum volume of 30,000 barrels/day of ethane until the beginning of 2025, when Braskem Idesa plans to start up an import terminal in Coatzacoalcos to allow it to tap into exports out of the US Gulf Coast. However, both parties sat to renegotiate that agreement after Pemex’s supply proved to be unstable, with credit rating agencies such as Fitch warning in 2023 of the “operational risk” such a deal with the state-owned major represented for Braskem Idesa. The outcome of the renegotiation is starting to bear fruit, explained Plata diplomatically, without providing any details. He conceded, however, that to outsiders, Pemex’s businesses could look rather odd. “We understand the positions of a public entity such as Pemex, and we understand its methods could look questionable to eyes outside our relationship,” said Plata. “However, at Braskem Idesa we were confident that if we sat down with them to renegotiate, clearly stating what we require from each other, we could reach a point in the renegotiation which worked for us as a company and for the Mexican petrochemicals sector as a whole.” Together with more stable supply from Pemex, Braskem Idesa also adopted the so-called Fast Track to import ethane while its own import terminal starts up. The terminal, known as Terminal Quimica Puerto Mexico (TQPM), closed the last financing details at the end of 2023. Plata said the terminal would start up “without a doubt” by the beginning of 2025, adding that construction was 70% complete by the beginning of July. According to Plata, with Pemex’s more stable ethane supply and the Fast Track system, Braskem Idesa is operating at 70-75% capacity utilization. PE MARKET WOES As a PE producer, Braskem Idesa remains exposed to the global downturn in polymers prices due to oversupplies. Plata said the downturn has been a “very hard” period for polymers producers, who may still face 12 more months of downturn. In its latest financial statement for the first quarter, Braskem Idesa’s sales fell by 2%, year on year, and the company posted a net loss. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) rose. Braskem Idesa (in $ million) Q1 2024 Q1 2023 Change Q4 2023 Change Q1 2024 vs Q4 2024 Sales 229 234 -2% 199 15% Net profit/loss -85 1 N/A -101 -16% EBITDA 36 26 36% 26 39% PE sales volumes (in tonnes) 205,500 195,100 5.4% 174,500 17.8% “We have had a very complex environment, with increased capacities in the US or China and with the war in Ukraine raising our production costs. We are undoubtedly in a down cycle and as a company we have tried to take care of our margins by controlling our costs and look closely at our investments,” said Plata. He said he “would not have the answer” about what to do with China’s dumping of product around the world, a fact that in Brazil, the largest Latin American economy, has prompted chemicals trade group Abiquim to lobby hard for higher import tariffs in polymers, as well as dozens of other chemicals. “Market analysts predict the current cycle may come to an end in the second half of 2025. Let’s hope so… This has been such a long crisis, aggravated by external factors such as wars and global convulsions, which undoubtedly also affect the industry, and the environment remains very uncertain.” Front page picture: Braskem Idesa’s facilities in Coatzacoalcos Source: Braskem Idesa Interview article by Jonathan Lopez Next week, ICIS will publish the second part of the interview with Plata, with his views on the challenges and opportunities for the chemicals and manufacturing sectors under the upcoming Administration led by President-Elect Claudia Sheinbaum amid the nearshoring trend


PODCAST: Europe PE, PP July outlook

LONDON (ICIS)–Europe’s run up to holiday season has been unusually busy for polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets, including some spot prices reversing for the first time since March 2024. In this ICIS podcast, European PE and PP senior editors Vicky Ellis and Ben Lake pick out July’s big themes, from logistics (hurricane Beryl and still-spiked Asian freight rates) to the mismatch between how local suppliers and converters are experiencing demand this month. They also highlight what to watch for August. Editing by Damini Dabholkar


Events and training


Build your networks and grow your business at ICIS’ industry-leading events. Hear from high-profile speakers on the issues, technologies and trends driving commodity markets.


Keep up to date in today’s dynamic commodity markets with expert online and in-person training covering chemicals, fertilizers and energy markets.

Contact us

In today’s dynamic and interconnected chemicals markets, partnering with ICIS unlocks a vision of a future you can trust and achieve. We leverage our unrivalled network of chemicals industry experts to support our partners as they transact today and plan for tomorrow. Capitalise on opportunity, with a comprehensive market view based on trusted data, insight and analytics.

Get in touch to find out more.