The European PET market is currently in a state of turmoil, which has principally been caused by a lack of PTA feedstock and reduced imports, according to Wood Mackenzie Chemicals Head of PET, Phil Marshall.
In a statement made 25 May, Marshal said major PTA producers in Europe have recently run into a range of technical issues.
This, he said, has resulted in two PTA producers declaring force majeure, which has impacted PET production.
The pressure comes at a time when inventories have been low and the beginning of the peak season has seen imports down from Asia – a region where local demand has been strong.
“This is frustrating local producers who are struggling to fulfil orders at a time when prices are rocketing for spot material,” noted the Wood Mackenzie expert.
Early May saw offers of €1200/tonne, while for June that figure is coming in at closer to €1450/tonne, according to Wood Mackenzie.
In light of that, Marshal warned that there “a real possibility” that a collection of brand owners would not be able to put all they want on shelves in the near future.”
“This could see the localised restriction of some products and 'own product' brands may become restricted. Additionally, products with modest sales may be unavailable for a short time, which will have a knock-on effect for consumers,” he noted.
According to Marshal, such tightness in the PET market “has not been seen for many years”.
This could prompt some idled plants to re-start, but the real prospect is that some spot product could be seen in excess of €2000/tonne in Q3.
“[This is] something that would have been unheard of 6 weeks ago,” Marshal concluded.