Dr. Thomas Probst, expert speaker at the German Federal Association for Secondary Raw Materials and Waste Disposal, sees a growing demand for plastics from the packaging industry, but expects a longer slump in other industrial sectors. And therefore lower prices.
The corona crisis has been stirring up many markets for weeks. What is the situation on the plastics market?
The demand for packaging plastics for food has risen sharply, as has the demand for medical products. The higher demand is even compensating for the decline in demand from other sectors such as automotive production. The demand for packaging PET in particular is high, one can already speak of a boom. Numerous beverage containers are stored by private consumers. The higher demand, especially for PET beverage bottles, could be compensated due to well-filled warehouses and sufficient imports.
And what about prices?
Even for PET bottles, there were price declines despite the increased demand in March. Low crude oil quotations also pulled down the prices of the preliminary products and ultimately of plastics. In March, packaging PET was even quoted below the lowest reference price of 1,038 euros per tonne in four years. I fear that industrial demand will continue to fall for a few more months. This will probably also affect the price trend.
What is the trend for secondary raw materials, i.e. for recyclates?
There is good demand for recyclates from film production. Products such as lawn grid stones, which are manufactured using recyclates, are also doing well. However, the drop in demand from industries such as the automotive industry weighs heavily here too. In addition, price discounts on primary goods are also pulling down the prices of the recyclates. Recyclers, however, benefit from the fact that the prices of their processing input, i.e. plastic waste, are also low. Processable plastic waste is at least sufficiently available in the markets.