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2020: A tumultuous year to remember in polymer markets

by Esra Ersöz -
  • 10/12/2020 (14:52)
Commodity markets weathered the storms of economic crises occasionally in the past; however, this was the first time a pandemic rattled the markets, creating a quandary for almost all the world this year. As the year end draws to a close, a comprehensive review of 2020 will make us remember what the polymer markets have lived through and how we have reflected on these extraordinary times.

China licked its wounds rapidly

The emergence of the ‘coronavirus outbreak’ followed by its peak and end in China took a little more than three months. This was also reflected in polymer markets, where almost all products hit their more than 10-year lows by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

However, the end of the first quarter was just the beginning of the story for the rest of the world.

A historic moment was marked on April 20 as WTI crude oil futures traded in the negative territory to fall as low as minus $37 per barrel. This, needless to say, was mirrored on polymer prices as almost all products reached their lowest in 11 or 12 years before the end of the first half of 2020 in almost all regions. Nevertheless, this downside was relatively limited due to the fact that prices had already been edging lower since 2019.

The bullish run kicked off in H2 as supply woes grew

Not only improving demand, but also reduced inventories spurred increases in global markets after June. They grew more visible in already tight markets after August. The markets were largely on an upswing in the last four months of the year with several polymers reaching multi-year highs by the end of the year.

What made PVC the shining star of 2020 after years of low prices?

How did LDPE regain its premium over HDPE and LLDPE?

How did PP and PET markets respond to the pandemic?

How was the polymer trade affected? Did the pandemic take a knock on everyone?

What about the big news in the polymer industry? Mergers and acquisitions, new investments?

The answers to these questions as well as the detailed yearly summary of polymers for PP, PE, PVC, PET, PS and ABS in China, Southeast Asia, Europe, Turkey, the Middle East, Africa and Egypt are available in our The 2020 Review of Polymer Markets: Supply has the final say despite the pandemic report.

Click here to download the pdf file for free.
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