The Middle East had been an established player in the global polymers market since the early 2000s for being a low-cost region for export-oriented polyolefins production, and have traditionally enjoyed strong dominance in Asia. However, competition is set to intensify, with US and China set to gain prominence in polyolefin production. A large chunk of the shale-based polyethylene (PE) capacity coming up in the US is targeted at Asia. India is also set to emerge as a PE exporter to Asia in 2018. This upsurge in supply is set to result in a battle for market shares globally, affecting PE prices, tradeflows and margins.
China is also steadily growing its polypropylene (PP) production via the coal-to-olefin route (CTO), moving closer to self-sufficiency. This is expected to ease China’s dependence on imports further, denting the share of Middle Eastern material.
This ICIS infographic examines key trends expected to emerge in the global polyolefin markets from 2018 onwards, its impact on polyolefin prices, and implications to Middle Eastern suppliers.