OUTLOOK ’17: US virgin, recycled PET markets optimistic
By Robbie Wilcox
HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US virgin polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) markets are expected to improve in 2017, as compared to a pessimistic outlook in 2016.
This is due primarily to new capacity in Texas, along with less restrictive recycling and labeling laws in several US states, and higher supplies of virgin PET.
The PET and R-PET value chain will be discussed during the annual ICIS conference in Berlin, Germany on 7-8 March 2017 (Image courtesy of ICIS)
A new PET and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant will be starting up in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the second quarter of 2017. The owner/operator will be Mossi and Ghisolfi (M&G), an Italian petchems company. It will be a vertically integrated PET/PTA plant with an expected nominal capacity of 1.1m tonnes/year for the PET unit and 1.3m tonnes/year for the PTA unit.
More capacity globally will come from a German-based company, Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, which plans to construct a PET polymer and staple fibre facility in Ivanovo, Russia. The plant will produce up to 200,000 tonnes/year of polyester polymer.
Higher supplies of virgin PET in the US are expected in 2017. This is because exports of virgin PET supplies have fallen in 2016, while imports have risen, according to data released by the US International Trade Commission (ITC).
The largest source of virgin PET to the US has been Mexico, which has supplied 40-50% of the material, the ITC report stated. More virgin material in the US is good for overall supply.
(Visualisation is extracted from International Trade Commission data)
Pricing for virgin PET is expected to remain relatively flat in 2017, while prices for R-PET will follow virgin pricing. The feedstocks for PET, which include paraxylene (PX) and PTA, will experience a balanced supply and demand in 2017.
A few US states are starting to relax their percentages of recycled materials as compared to virgin materials, which will help R-PET producers and recyclers. Some labeling requirements are also being relaxed. Also R-PET demand in the US and Europe, which are the primary consumers, is expected to follow the improved virgin PET market in 2017.
(Image is from the ICIS global library)
Overall growth of the US PET market has been forecasted to increase yearly through 2025, according to a 2016 ICIS World Petrochemicals Industry report, which is based on global ethylene plant capacities steadily increasing.
Major producers of PET in the US are DAK Americas, Indorama, Nan Ya Plastics, and M&G.
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