BLOG - Global polyethylene demand boom likely, increasing the sustainability challenge

Author: John Richardson


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson.

Global polyethylene demand looks set to increase by enough to avoid the long-forecast supply-driven downcycle.

This would be because of the surge in demand resulting from the pandemic.

Scenarios I or 2 of the following three scenarios seem the most likely:

  • Scenario 1 would see global demand growth averaging 5% in 2021- 2025. Cumulative demand would reach 658m tonnes.
  • Under Scenario 2, demand growth would be at a 4% annual average with cumulative demand at 622m tonnes – 36m tonnes lower than Scenario 1.
  • Scenario 3 sees average annual growth at 2% and cumulative demand at 569m tonnes, which would be 89m tonnes lower than Scenario 1.

There are also appears to be no threat from a big rise in Chinese self-sufficiency right out until 2031.

But how do we meet this growth sustainably? This is an altogether different question that the industry must answer.

Editor’s note: This blog post is an opinion piece. The views expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of ICIS.