Imports of low-pressure polyethylene (HDPE) to Europe in November fell by 28% compared with the same period a year earlier, reports ICIS.

Previously, Saudi Arabia was the main supplier of IPA for European buyers, but in 2019 the United States became the largest supplier in Europe.

Although the Middle East regained its position as a leading exporter, the volume of HDPE that it supplied to Europe was 28% lower than in November 2018, while the United States increased its exports by 59%, narrowing the gap between the two regions.

Due to the growth in US HDPE shipments to Europe, material prices began to plummet. Since September 2019, the situation has become more difficult for manufacturers from the EU, since spot prices for HDPE have been set below the base price of an ethylene contract.

As for HDPE prices in March, market participants are waiting for negotiations on the contract price for ethylene to begin. This week there was a slight decrease in the price of polyethylene, due to lower prices of naphtha.

PNA exports from the EU in November 2019 decreased by 10% compared to the same period last year, with China becoming the main importer.

According to the ICIS-MRC Price Survey, the situation in the pipe polyethylene segment was the most dramatic last week in the HDPE market in Russia. Since the beginning of the year, the demand for this PE is very low, and some sellers have accumulated very large stocks of raw materials. This factor has become the main reason for a significant decline in prices last week. In other segments, price correction was less significant with a few exceptions. In the HDPE film market, a small surplus remains, but there is no serious pressure on prices.