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

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.


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