The Week in Chemistry: US PE, PP spot prices for the week of May 23 down US$0.03/lb, US PE exports hit 35% of production; May 30 Asia ethylene, propylene prices under downward pressure amid weak downstream demand, COVID-19 restrictions in China

Sample article from our Chemicals Industry

LOS ANGELES , June 3, 2022 () –


US Resins

US resin trading ran slightly slower in the final week of May due to the Memorial Day weekend. 

PE spot prices for the week of May 23 eased by about US$0.03/lb as more material became available. Pricing losses also mark the largest weekly decline so far in 2022, as mounting upstream inventories add to pressures to discount material.

Spot PP also declined by about $0.03/lb, influenced by weak propylene monomer costs and ample availability. The decline brought spot hompolymer PP below $1.00/lb for the first time since early March.

New capacity additions out of Canada could put additional downward pressure on prices.

The primary source of this information is Plastics Today.


Asia Petrochemicals

Asian ethylene prices for the week of May 30 were seen under downward pressure amid weak margins for downstream PE and MEG. Upcoming plant maintenance downstream will also hinder demand in June.

Bearish sentiment for Asian PE comes from ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in China.

Propylene was assessed at US$1,010/tonne CFR China on May 27, a decline of $40/tonne from May 21. Meanwhile, market participants anticipate improved demand after Shanghai lifts COVID-19 restrictions.

Meanwhile, butadiene remains supported by tight spot availability as producers in South Korea and Japan reduce steam cracker operating rates.

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


US PE Trading

US PE exports have reached 35% of domestic production, near the 40% levels achieved in March 2020 before pandemic-related shutdowns occurred, Dow Chemical CEO says.

A recovery in early 2021 was interrupted by February’s freezing weather, which took a significant amount of capacity offline.

The US exported 6 million tonnes of PE in 2020 before falling 18% to 4.98 million tonnes in 2021. Exports for the first three months of 2022 totaled nearly 1.48 million tonnes of PE, compared to 1.64 million tonnes in Q1 of 2020, ITC data show.

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


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Dan Rivard
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