Global HDPE Market Sees Divergent Price Trends: Surge in the US, Declines in Europe and Asia
Global HDPE Market Sees Divergent Price Trends: Surge in the US, Declines in Europe and Asia

Global HDPE Market Sees Divergent Price Trends: Surge in the US, Declines in Europe and Asia

  • 17-Jun-2024 4:00 PM
  • Journalist: Nicholas Seifield

The global High-density Polyethylene (HDPE) market witnessed varied trends with significant price shifts across major regions in the past week. Europe and Asia observed declines in HDPE prices due to subdued demand, whereas the United States saw a notable increase. These price movements were primarily influenced by global factors such as reduced demand and limited supplies. Additionally, disruptions in key supply routes triggered by geopolitical tensions added further pressure to the market.  Therefore, HDPE prices in Hamburg, Germany fell by around 1% for Injection Grade, while inclined by around 2% in Texas, USA for Injection Moulding during the second week of June 2024. At the same time, Chinese HDPE (Injection Moulding prices also witnessed a marginal decline of around 0.4%.

During the second week of June 2024, HDPE prices in the USA surged as initial higher asking prices for railcars found eager buyers amidst strong domestic demand. The market saw intensified activity characterized by consistent spot demand and numerous transactions across all grades of resin. Earlier in the month, processors placed substantial orders to fulfill short to mid-term requirements, while resellers purchased truckloads to compensate for delayed railcar deliveries, further driving up spot demand. This surge in HDPE demand coincided with the unofficial start of summer, traditionally a peak season for key industries such as construction, automotive, and packaging, alongside the onset of hurricane season.

In Germany, HDPE prices experienced downward pressure as European PE suppliers initiated reductions at the start of June to align with stable ethylene contracts amid subdued demand and reduced costs.  Further, there is an expectation among distributors of further price declines in the coming weeks, driven by weak demand and ample supply conditions. This anticipation stems from ongoing challenges faced by the European chemical industry, grappling with persistent global demand weakness exacerbated by sluggish growth in the US and a slowdown in China. Moreover, supply disruptions aggravated by severe weather events in Germany, including rain and flooding, resulted in evacuations and transport halts along the River Rhine. These disruptions significantly impacted market dynamics by impeding logistics and exacerbating supply constraints. 

During this period, Chinese HDPE prices remained stable, experiencing a marginal decline of 0.4%, which was attributed to a balanced supply-demand scenario. The stability was supported by consistent feedstock Ethylene prices, which contributed to maintaining price trends during this timeframe. Despite ongoing supply issues, HDPE prices saw a decrease from the previous week. This decline was aligned with the easing of feedstock Ethylene prices, thereby alleviating cost pressures on the product. Supply of HDPE in China was constrained due to peak maintenance periods at polyethylene plants, resulting in low on-site operating rates and tight supply conditions. On the demand side, the agricultural film sector entered its off-season during this period, which typically results in reduced demand. Demand from the construction sector remained moderate, contributing to the overall market dynamics for HDPE in China.

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