Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented decline in the sales of automotive and consumer electronics and white good products. This decline has in turn reflected in the revenue of the plastic industry. The prices for most types of plastics has shown a declining curve from the past few months i.e. since February 2020, as the world struggles to get back on track. Following table indicates the pricing scenario for few major types of commodity plastics.
|Sr. No.||Polymer||Pre-COVID Average Price (US$/ton)||COVID Average Price (US$/ton)|
|1||High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)||1,200||1,012|
|2||Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)||1,400||1,150|
As per Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, the rapid decline in demand from end-use industries coupled with declining feedstock prices resulted in the change of price for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in the U.S. It was traded at US$ 620-630 per ton in the first half of April 2020 from US$ 840-860 per ton in March 2020, a decline of around 27% in the span of one month. Furthermore, the price for ethylene dichloride (EDC) also declined, resulting in change of 60% to account for US$ 110-120 per ton in April as against US$ 280-290 per ton in March, 2020. Our consultants estimate lower contract prices for major commodity polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene (around US$ 1,000-1,200 per ton) in the next few quarters of 2020, attributed to competitive pricing strategies adopted by major suppliers of polymers such as ExxonMobil and LyondellBasell to overcome the loss and reduce the working capital stress. Having said that, demand for medical grade engineering plastics such as Polyphenylene Sulphide (PPS), Polyetherether Ketone (PEEK), Polysulfones (PSU’s), Polyoxymethylene (POM), Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT), and Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP) has increased, and the trend is expected to continue till December 2020, owing to usage of these materials in medical applications such as personal protective equipment’s, syringes, catheters, implants, prosthetics, sterilization trays, headgear, etc.
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