High-Density Polyethylene Prices (Q1 2022)
The three primary sorts of HDPE spot market varied on March 10, 2022, with quotes in big regions largely down. In East China, the ex-factory price adjustment range for petrochemical industries was 50-400 RMB/MT. International crude oil prices had plummeted, cost-side support had been minimal, downstream entrance into the market had been eager, and market transaction was already limited. Towards the end of March, the price was roughly about 9700 RMB/MT.
In the third week of February, spot market prices for all grades of HDPE and LLDPE increased, but prices for LDPE blow moulding and film grades decreased week-on-week. The price of polypropylene homopolymer increased due to increased demand and higher raw material costs. The copolymer market showed a mixed pattern, with block copolymer prices falling week on week but random copolymer prices rising due to sustained demand.
High-Density Polyethylene Prices (Q4 2021)
The average prices for injection grade and blow moulding grade increased by 10% and 11.2% in China from quarter 3 to quarter 4. The Asian market thus witnessed a completely different market dynamics with respect to North America. Freight costs from US and Europe were skyrocketing amid supply shortages, both of which contributed to the price rise in the region in October and November. In China, energy crisis had hit the market in October due to coal supply shortages, which caused the government to intervene and ration the coal supplies. However, not much could be achieved from the intervention, as the pandemic resurfaced in the region which impacted the imports. Prices also rose in India as compared to quarter 3. The prices for blow moulding grade rose by 15% in quarter 4 of 2021 while the injection molding grade saw a rise of 12.3%. The coal shortages in India had impacted the prices with the soaring energy costs. Manufacturers attempted to stabilise the prices in December, but were challenged by the increasing demand and low supplies, and prices continued to stay high even in December 2021.
The HDPE market in Europe saw market trends similar to those in North America, as prices fell in quarter 4 when compared with quarter 3 levels. The injection grade and blow moulding grades witnessed a 3% decline after quarter 3 in Hamburg. Demand had declined in November as the markets closed due to the holiday season. Companies like LyondellBasell and INEOS lowered their prices. The production was impacted by the natural gas prices, and the prices were low during most of the final quarter, and only recovered by the middle of December. The production levels in major exporting countries like Netherlands and Belgium continued to remain the same. The export base were however affected as coronavirus resurfaced in the region as most of the East Asian countries reinstated lockdowns which led to a fall in the prices in the last weeks of the final quarter of 2021.
Exports were diverted from Northeast Asia to Europe, as a result of supply shortages in the US during the final quarter of 2021 post the deep freeze period and to maintain the stability in the domestic market. The HDPE production however soon rebounded in October and the supplies flooded the domestic markets. The freight charges continued to increase which helped the traders as it weakened the overseas import margins. Meanwhile the drop in demand ahead to the upcoming Christmas holidays in Europe and North America, somewhat pushed traders to sell their HDPE stocks at discounted rates. The packaging industry demands had increased but so did the number of coronavirus cases. This brought down the demands from the Asian markets and major producers like Dow and ExxonMobil reduced their prices drastically in December 2021.
High-Density Polyethylene Prices (Q1-Q3 2021)
In Asia, the market registered a sharp rise in prices in the second quarter of 2021, amid strong demand and low supply in the region. The demand kept swinging from high to low and prices remained fluctuating. In February and March, the prices observed a rapid increase due to critical global shortage of feedstock due to the inactivity of plants in the US Gulf Coast. In China, the EXW prices had increased by 7.28% in the first quarter, as production rates came down due to the Chinese Lunar Festival in February. Additionally, domestic plants in China were undergoing maintenance activities in March and several plants like, PetroChina Sichuan, Sinopec Yanshan, and Sinopec Maoming remained idle.
The market in Asia contrasted heavily from that in the US as demand remained low which affected the prices and caused them to dip during the second quarter of 2021. In China, the inventory levels were overflowing as buying activities from consumers remained low in this period, leading the HDPE prices to plummet. In India, the government imposed strict measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the second quarter of 2021 and the demand was mostly stable in this period. The injection moulding grade was priced at 1283 USD/MT in India, while it was 1211 USD/MT in China in the fourth week of June.
HDPE observed an upward trajectory in the third quarter of 2021. Consumer demand had rebounded in the region, after the low demand outlook witnessed in the second quarter. The domestic markets faced supply shortages, as trading activities slowed down in several countries amidst the rapidly spreading Delta variant in quarter 3. In India, the pipe grade prices went from 1363 USD/MT to 1401 USD/MT in quarter 3. High freight costs also increased prices in the region, as traders and manufacturers safeguarded their margins.
As both America and Europe faced shortages, the prices in Europe soared high in the second quarter of 2021. Delayed shipments and limited supplies made it difficult for European suppliers to procure HDPE. Another reason for the price rise, were the elevating freight costs along with low container availability in the region. The suppliers were ready to pay the premium charges for cargoes, which contributed to the price rise in the second quarter.
The market witnessed mixed sentiments in quarter 3 of 2021. The prices observed a downward trend and Hamburg prices declined from 1741 USD/MT to 1637 USD/MT. Consistent demand from construction and automotive industries for downstream segments maintained a stable demand outlook for HDPE in the third quarter. High freight costs, limited supply and low container availability were other major factors which led to the price rise in the region.
The weather conditions in North America impacted the productions levels of HDPE bringing them down to almost zero. Winter storms in the US gulf coast had completely disrupted the production of most plants in the area. The majority of olefins and polyolefin plants (close to 80%), remained abandoned for most of the first quarter of 2021. The prices in this period rose by 30% and settled at 1520 USD/MT in Texas, US. Supplies started to heal by the end of the first quarter and more than half of the plants resumed their operations. However, the feedstock supply of monomers and other additives were limited, affecting the already low HDPE production levels.
In the second quarter of 2021, the prices shot up in North America as a result of a huge spike of downstream demand in the packaging sector. The production levels had been low in the previous quarter, which meant low inventory levels of HDPE as demand started to rise in April and May. Most of the deliveries had been delayed by manufacturers and major producers like Chevron, Dow and ExxonMobil raised their prices in the second quarter due to material shortage. Injection moulding grade prices were around 2155 USD/MT whereas blow moulding grade prices were 2278 USD/MT in the US in the second quarter. During the third quarter of 2021, the domestic outlook for HDPE gained firm grounds in North America. The export spot prices observed an upward trajectory while the unresolved supply constraints continued into the third quarter. The hurricane Ida led to a surge in HDPE contracts as production was disrupted in Texas. The injection moulding grade had the spot price of 1795 USD/MT whereas the blow moulding grade was priced at 1890 USD/MT in September 2021.
High-Density Polyethylene Prices Overview 2020
The demand for HDPE was consistent in 2020 while the supplies were also ample. The prices therefore remained rangebound in the Asian market. In Iran, the supply cargoes had been restricted, but were later discharged in September which added on to the market supplies. As the markets in China reopened after the first wave of the pandemic, the production for polyethylene rebounded in the region. In Southeast Asia, however, there was negligible change in the market fundamentals for HDPE, the market remained uncertain due to the economic balance caused by the pandemic.
In quarter 2, the polyethylene market was driven by strong demands from the packaging industry for food, medical and healthcare services, in the rise of coronavirus cases in North America. In the US, the supplies for polyethylene soon tightened due to delayed imports and resin shortage. In September, the exports had reduced prominently, due to low productions owing to Hurricane Laura. The demand from sectors like automotive, agriculture and construction had improved considerably, it was still low when compared to the pre-pandemic levels.
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About High Density Polyethylene (HDPE):
High Density Polyethylene is known to be a thermoplastic polymer produced from the monomer ethylene. It is often called alkathene or polythene when utilised for HDPE pipes. Since it comes with a high strength-to-density ratio, HDPE is utilised in making plastic bottles, corrosion-resistant piping, geomembranes, and plastic lumber. HDPE is generally recycled and has the number 2 as its resin identification code.
In the gas phase process, ethene and hydrogen are combined, and the resulting mixture is passed over a Philips catalyst in a fixed bed reactor to finally achieve polymerisation reaction and produce High Density Polyethylene grains.
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The displayed pricing data is derived through weighted average purchase price, including contract and spot transactions at the specified locations unless otherwise stated. The information provided comes from the compilation and processing of commercial data officially reported for each nation (i.e. government agencies, external trade bodies, and industry publications).
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