In September, polyolefin prices in Western Europe showed limited development, but polystyrene and PET registered sizeable price hikes.
In September, there were fewer supply interruptions from planned and unplanned polymer plant outages with several facilities returning to full production. However, the supply side picture for standard thermoplastics markets was mixed. Material availability for the LDPE and PVC sectors was very good, while LLDPE and HDPE supply was tighter. Polystyrene and PET supply was good, although PET imports were down.
Upcoming/ongoing cracker maintenance programmes include:
- The Unipetrol cracker at Litvinov in the Czech Republic during the third quarter for 4 weeks
- The Naphtachimie stream cracker at Lavera in southern France, which has been running at reduced capacity since end June following a technical issue, will undergo maintenance in September for 6-8 weeks
- BP’s cracker at Gelsenkirchen, Germany underwent maintenance from mod-August to mid-September.
- LyondellBasell is understood to have scheduled maintenance at its Wesseling cracker Germany during the September-October period.
- About 50% of European ethylene oxide/MEG capacity is up for maintenance during the September-October period.
The expected uptick in demand after the holiday month of August was not as strong as had been hoped. For a September, incoming orders for most classes were lower than expected. PET continued to enjoy more robust demand, although order intake started to return to more normal seasonal levels mid-September as the heatwave came to an end. PVC film and pipes saw good seasonal sales, while the profile sector was much quieter.
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