Polyethylene Market Outlook for second-half of year
The polyethylene (PE) market in China is uncertain in the second half of year due to both bullish and bearish factors. The PE market in China in early March hit a record high in the last three years as crude oil prices had risen since the Chinese New Year in February, and the US also fell short of PE due to a cold wave in February. Although PE prices fell due to a lack of bullish factors after April, prices became firm again in June as petrochemical manufacturers raised ex-works prices due to a decrease in imported products. In the second half of year, strong crude oil and naphtha prices are likely to be a strong factor for PE prices. On the supply side, 11 companies will add new PE facilities by the end of the year in China. 1.5 mil tons of PE facilities had already started operations in the first half of the year, and 4.25 mil tons of facilities are scheduled to start up in the second half of year. These facilities will start operations over a wide area such as East China, Hebei and Northwest China from July to September, and domestic PE supply is expected to increase. On the import side, supply from overseas is likely to recover along with the completion of regular maintenance of PE facilities in the Middle East in the second half of the year. On the other hand, the impact of COVID-19 continue to be severe and PE demand is low in Southeast Asia and India. This is expected to lead to an increase in PE imports by China. A demand season for PE in China is expected to arrive in August onwards. In addition, the operation rates of derivative facilities may increase in the future. However, PE demand is expected to slow down as environmental issues and a soaring yuan as well as high freight rates might cause demand to weaken from November.