Europe PET imports fell nearly a third from May to June, and prices soared

Author: Caroline Murray


LONDON (ICIS)--EU imports of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in primary forms dropped 28% in June, according to the latest data from Eurostat, at a time when domestic prices soared.

Year on year, PET imports into the EU in June dropped 5%.

The lack of imports was one of the contributing factors for European PET prices to jump from the €1,100/s FD (free delivered) Europe in May to peak at €1,400/tonne in June.

During June, currency exchange rates were not in the favour of European buyers either, as the dollar had gained some ground against the euro.

The euro weakened from the moment a June delivery booking would have been made, around April, when the euro/dollar exchange rate stood at €1:$1.22.

By June, the dollar had strengthened to €1:$1.16.


Asian prices were increasing at the same time as European values, so the lack of competition was even more evident.

In the lead up to the peak summer period for PET, material was scarce, partly owing to a series of production cutbacks upstream.

The tightness has been a global problem with multiple major events affecting the markets.

The disconnect between raw material and the high PET spot prices was so large in Europe through the first half of the year that, by June, domestic producers were prepared to sell forward without knowing production costs.

A Eurostat revision to previous data puts April as the month when imports were at their highest, at 73,540 tonnes, rather than May.

EU PET (primary forms) (tonnes)
Import Export
June 2017 54,336 6699
June 2018 51340 10943
Change -5.51% 63.35%

With just over 20,000 tonnes, South Korea was again the biggest importer in June.

Eurostat import/export data is subject to revision as more detailed information becomes available. EU figures comprise the aggregate of member states data published by Eurostat.

Picture source: ImageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

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