The Week in Chemistry: US spot PE, PP prices lower for week of April 17 ahead of flat or lower contract prices; China refinery, petrochemical firms bring capacity utilization to 80.4% in April, Europe PET prices pressured lower by reduced consumer demand

Sample article from our Chemicals Industry

LOS ANGELES , April 28, 2023 () –


US Resins

Spot resin availability was heavy during the week of April 17, resulting in an improvement in completed transactions.

Spot PE prices ended the week down by US$0.01/lb as more plentiful availability led to above-average weekly trading volumes. Meanwhile, contracts are expected to remain flat for April after gaining US$0.06/lb during the first quarter.

PP prices fell by US$0.02/lb ahead of an expected decrease in contract prices.

Polymer-grade propylene costs also decreased, adding to downward pressure on PP contracts.

The primary source of this information is Plastics Today.


China Refining & Petrochemicals

China’s crude throughput across independent and state-owned refineries continued higher in April on a year-over-year basis, though lower than a peak reached in March, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights.

However, capacity utilization across state-owned Sinopec, PetroChina, CNOOC and Sinochem stood at 80.4% in April, down from 81.1% in March.

Increased throughput at new integrated complexes offset the lower capacity use.

In May, state-owned refineries will take a total of 540,000 barrels/day of capacity offline for maintenance.

Planned maintenance projects in the coming months include several facilities by Sinopec and PetroChina.

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


Europe Polymer Demand

European polymer markets are feeling the ongoing impact of inflated food prices, a key end market that is experiencing depressed demand.

Items seeing the greatest hit include mineral water—packaged in PET bottles—as well as branded or luxury grocery items.

Even the typical “PET season” that marks an uptick in demand during spring and summer has been delayed owing to tightened consumer spending, sources say.

Adding to the downward pressure on pricing, US and Middle Eastern polymer producers are operating near 100% of capacity, offering ample supply into a market facing weakened demand.

Upstream, European MEG prices have also plummeted as a result. Spot MEG prices were assessed down €20/tonne to €460/tonne FCA Antwerp on April 28.

Spot PET prices were assessed at €1,190/tonne FD NWE. April contracts fell €30/tonne month-on-month to €1,200/tonne on April 26, according to Platts assessment.

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


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Dan Rivard
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