Global Market Outlook on Polyethylene

  • The global demand is expected to grow at 3.2 percent CAGR through 2017–2022
  • Asia will remain the key demand driver with an expected growth of 4.4 percent, due to the increase in per capita consumption 
  • Blow molding applications and food/non-food packaging applications are expected to be the key segments driving the growth across the regions

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Demand Market Outlook

  • The global PE demand is expected to grow at 3.2 percent CAGR through 2017–2022
  • The Middle East and North America are supply surplus regions, while Asia, LATAM, and Europe are trade  deficit regions. The trend is broadly expected to continue until 2022

Global Market Size: PE

  • The global PE market is valued at $152 billion in 2016 and is estimated to touch $190 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 3.8 percent
  • Asia is expected to witness a high growth rate of about 4.4 percent CAGR, followed by the Middle East, ranging from 4 to 5 percent CAGR, while saturated markets, like the US and Europe, are expected to witness a growth of about 2–3 percent CAGR during 2017–2022
  • Europe is expected to grow at 1.2 percent during the forecast period. LATAM is expected to witness a growth rate of about 2.3 percent

Global Capacity–Demand Analysis

  • The increase in new capacities to the tune of 33-34 MMT by 2021 and modest demand growth rates of 3.2 percent CAGR are likely to keep the market well supplied
  • Increase in new capacities by over 6 MMT in China, the largest demand center, could reduce the supply–demand gap. Thereby, leaving CPG buyers with more domestic sourcing options.However, Asia would continue to be a net importer of PE
  • Likewise, increase in new capacities in the US could lead to increased exports into LATAM, China, and African countries

Market Outlook 

  • Capacity Dynamics: The global PE production capacity is expected to increase by 33–34 MMT to touch 133 MMT by 2022, driven by the capacity additions in the US, Asia, and the Middle East
  • Production: The operating rates are expected to drop during 2016–2018, due to the increase in new capacities and improve marginally post 2018 
  • Demand: The global PE demand is estimated to grow at 3.2 percent, driven by blow molding and film applications in the packaging segment

Engagement Outlook 

  • The North American market is predominantly contract based, and buyers prefer to source locally, due to higher cost of imported PE
  • Contracts are generally renewed annually 
  • In Asia, buyers engage in spot buying and source both within the region or from Europe/Asia, if arbitrage opportunities are available 
  • In Europe, the buyers source both within the region and from Asia/Middle East. Both spot and contract prices are used 
  • The suppliers are willing to enter into a contract, only if the minimum order volume is over 1,000 MT or sometimes over 2,000 MT