The Week in Chemistry: US PE, PP spot prices flat in week of Oct. 17, global market for rubber processing chemicals hits US$6.2B in 2021; makers of polymers, plastic additives could face liability claims as pollution emerges as health risk

Sample article from our Chemicals Industry

LOS ANGELES , October 28, 2022 () –


US Resins

US spot prices for PE, PP held flat during the week of October 17 as improved demand and tightening supply bring balance to markets.

PE trading had a busy week, with HDPE blow molding and LDPE film was primary movers. Meanwhile, trading was slower for LLDPE.

Stockpiles of PE in October will likely register a further decrease, particularly if producers’ operating rates remain below 80%.

October contracts have yet to settle. However, market sources do not expect proposed contract hikes of US$0.05-$0.07/lb to go through.

In contrast to PE, PP trading remained slow during the week of October 17. 

Rallying monomer prices are supporting optimism that spot PP may recover after a low point in October.

However, October contracts could decrease by as much as US$0.15/lb, owing to the month’s decrease in monomer costs.

The primary source of this information is Plastics Today.


Global Rubber Chemicals

The global market for rubber processing chemicals was lightly more than 1.5 million tonnes, or US$6.2B, in 2021, according to a report published by S&P Global.

Mainland China is expected to remain the largest consumer of rubber processing chemicals in 2022-2027, despite entering a phase of slower development in the coming years.

Meanwhile, the North America market for rubber processing chemicals may be limited by a recession in the US in 2023.

Asia outside of China is the largest rubber-producing region, making up more than 80% of global production of natural rubber.

Micheliin, Bridgestone and Goodyear were still the top three global tire producers in 2021. However, the companies have been gradually losing share over the last 20 years as large manufacturers start operations in China and India.

The primary source of this information is S&P Global Platts.


Plastics Pollution

Minderoo Foundation has collaborated with legal firm Clyde & Co. and liability risk consultancy Praedicat, issuing a report on the costs to society from plastic pollution. 

The report finds that the significant harms caused by plastic pollution could trigger large liability claims against the petrochemical industry involved in their manufacture.

Between 2022 and 2030, corporate liabilities from plastics litigation could exceed US$20 billion, with potentially larger claims beyond 2030.

Manufacturers of the additives used in plastics are at greatest risk of lawsuits, owing to the well-established links to health harms.

Polymer manufacturers are also exposed to litigation risk as ‘microplastics’ emerge as public health and environmental threats.

The primary source of this information is Minderoo Foundation.

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Dan Rivard
Dan Rivard
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