K 2019: Europe PE 'warehouses full everywhere' as oversupply haunts market

Author: Linda Naylor


DUSSELDORF, Germany (ICIS)--Lengthy European polyethylene (PE) supply is dominating sentiment as imports are offered on a widespread basis.

K Trade Fair. Source: Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

“Warehouses are full everywhere, and there’s more to come,” said a trader.

Buyers were treading the halls looking for good 2020 deals, but one European producer at least was offering rollover conditions for 2020 contracted business.

“Imports from the US are not regular enough yet to affect contracted business,” said one.

Buyers were generally expecting that to change in 2020, however.

The sources where speaking on the sidelines of the plastics and rubber trade fair K. 

PE capacities have been coming on stream apace in the US, and are set to continue into next year.

Added to this, a large new plant is due on stream imminently in Tobolsk, Russia.

Oman also has new production coming on stream.

Buyers are understandably relaxed when it comes to procuring volumes next year.

Most PE grades are available, with linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), including metallocene LLDPE (MLLDPE), and high density polyethylene (HDPE) volumes particularly available.

Prices have not slipped much during the K fair, but they are already very low, with many net PE prices trading below the headline ethylene contract price.

Sources are now conjecturing over what may happen for the rest of the quarter.

“December is a very short working month - We can expect special deals then,” said the trader.

Traders and distributors are facing a situation they have not had for some years in that now there is a choice of suppliers to choose from.

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The K Trade Fair runs in Dusseldorf, Germany on 16-23 October.