Daily Chemical Reactions | Global Polymers

Global Polymer Market Update: US PE Spot Price Higher Backed by Global Support, Cost Advantage Evident
March 13, 2024
Commodities Mentioned:
Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Propylene, Acetone, Phenol, PET, Polyols, Naphtha, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Ethane, Hydrogen, Carbon, rPET, PVC, Polyurethane
Companies Mentioned:
Nova Chemicals, Westlake, Dow, ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell, CP Chemical, Braskem, Pinnacle Polymers, Formosa Plastics, TotalEnergies, Bora LyondellBasell, Borealis, Celanese, Evonik, Desktop Metal, OQ Chemicals, Shandong Polymer Biochemicals Co., Solvay, Wanhua Chemical, Wacker, Chevron, Shell, Gail, ONGC, BP, Reliance, Aldi, Banyan Botanicals, Carbios Cargill, Eastman, Ecolab, Enviva, Henkel, Ineos, TerraCycle, SK chemicals, Ørsted, Energy Vault, Trina Solar, Xiaomi, Woodside

Global Polymer Market Update: US PE Spot Price Higher Backed by Global Support, Cost Advantage Evident

Key Findings

  • General Thoughts: US PE prices have risen in March, driven by factors outlined in our February polymer price expectations report, and our near-term view of North American PE producer profitability remains constructive.
  • Supply Chain/Commodities: We compare and contrast US PE and PP price and margin developments, highlight more price activity driven by economics than demand, and discuss the North American ethylene competitive edge.
  • Energy/Upstream: We discuss oil-to-gas ratio trends and the development of Ex-US naphtha prices relative to USGC ethane in 1Q24, as these feedstock ratios support US petrochemical production relative to Europe and Asia.
  • Recycled/Renewable Polymers: We discuss the needed scale and consolidation among polymer recyclers, note issues facing Eastman sourcing local waste in TN, and note why a high oil price broadly benefits recycler efforts.
  • Downstream/Other Chemicals: We highlight the significant share of global PE demand from the G20 and the OECD GDP and inflation outlook across the G20, which anticipates a weak 2024 will precede a better 2025.

Exhibit 1: US spot PE production margins have surged in 1Q24, reflecting notably higher levels than the global average.

Source: Bloomberg, C-MACC Analysis, March 2024

See PDF below for all charts, tables and diagrams

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