Effect on US MEG of EU antidumping investigation yet unclear

Author: Antoinette Smith

2020/10/16

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US monoethylene glycol (MEG) participants are weighing the announcement of an EU anti-dumping investigation on imports from the US and Saudi Arabia, leaving the US market uncertain as to the effects of the probe.

According to the EU complaint, “unfairly low-priced imports of the product” from the two countries “have caused material injury” to its industry.

The probe covers the full year ending 30 June 2020 and is expected to last around six months, according to the European Commission.

Two US market participants said it was too early to understand how this investigation could affect US MEG trade flows and supply.

"The pricing to Europe was very similar to the price in the domestic US for a large buyer," said a third source.

In 2019 North America and the Middle East represented a combined 96% of Europe MEG imports, according to the ICIS Supply and Demand Database.

In 2019, US ethylene glycol capacity expanded by 75%, largely intended for export, particularly to China, the world's largest consumer of MEG for use in polyester fibre.

All US producers were named as "known exporting producers" in the complaint, along with Huntsman, which sold its US integrated oxides and derivatives business to Indorama in early 2020.

In 2019 Lotte, Sasol and MEGlobal all opened large plants along the US Gulf Coast, which offers easy access to shipping ports.

MEG is an intermediate in the production of polyester fibres and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle resins, and as an automotive antifreeze.

Major glycol producers in the US include Eastman Chemical, Indorama Ventures, Lotte Chemical, LyondellBasell, MEGlobal, Nan Ya Plastics, Sasol and Shell Chemical.

Focus article by Antoinette Smith

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