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Is Europe the new destination for Chinese PET?

  • 31/10/2017 (04:14)
In Europe, more Chinese PET offers have started to surface at competitive levels in the import market recently as European levels are still considered too high despite the latest downward revisions from regional producers.

Meanwhile, Chinese exporters reported that they have begun to divert their allocations to Europe after facing challenges about finding new export outlets due to the new customs and anti-dumping duties imposed by many countries on PET imports from China. As already highlighted in ChemOrbis Daily Headline Where will Chinese PET head following new duties? Turkey, Indonesia, Japan, Canada and the US have either applied new duties or started anti-dumping investigations on Chinese PET imports.

Affirming the recent improvement in buying interest from Europe, a distributor from Shanghai said, “Demand in Southeast Asian markets shows no improvement while we see good demand from Europe due to the production issues, mainly stemming from JBF’s absence. We have sold large quantities to Europe this week.”

Accordingly, Italian players have reported an increased buying interest in Chinese cargoes after the European Union terminated the 13-year-long anti-dumping measures on China’s PET in early this year. Some distributors said that converters in Italy are now more willing to buy Chinese PET as they already had a chance to test this origin for their applications in the past few months. The fact that the done deals for this origin are being reported €80/ton below the low end of the local PET ranges when all applicable costs are added is also contributing to their willingness.

A PET bottle manufacturer even claimed that the abundance of Chinese material in Italy may counterbalance the lack of European suppliers in the medium term as long as they remain competitive.

In Northwest Europe, Chinese PET was also offered €30-40/ton below the local ranges. Similarly, interest in Chinese PET imports is growing in the northern countries as a PET bottle manufacturer in Germany opined, “We aim to test Chinese material in order to see if it is suitable for our applications. It might be a good option during the high season for our sector.”

Upon the pressure from Chinese PET, a South Korean producer also cut its export offers by $25/ton week over week given weaker demand in Europe.

A buyer commented, “We are seeing more Chinese material in the Italian market while South Korean material is not offered at attractive levels at the moment although it is exempt from duties. We think Korean suppliers are now focusing more on Japan and the US, where China has already lost its competitive advantage.”

Whether Chinese PET will remain competitive against South Korea, namely the largest import supplier of Europe, and continue to offer an attractive alternative to European PET makers is yet to be seen in the midst of their restricted export destinations.