Polyethylene prices soar as Hurricane Harvey knocks out more than half US ethylene supply

Polyethylene prices soar as Hurricane Harvey knocks out more than half US ethylene supply

Global polyethylene prices are set to soar as Harvey-hit Texas’ petrochemicals industry, which produces some three-quarters of the US’ total supply of key ingredient ethylene, has ground to a halt, according to a report published by Bloomberg.

The floods have caused nearly all of the state’s ethylene plants to shut down, and production is not expected to return to pre-storm levels until November.

“The combination of Harvey’s path, duration and rainfall total is wreaking havoc with the supply side of the US chemicals industry on an unprecedented scale,” Kevin McCarthy, Equity Analyst at Vertical Research Partners. “We certainly haven’t seen anything quite like it in our 18 years of following chemical stocks on Wall Street.”

Chemical and plastics buyers are estimating that their inventories will be exhausted in two weeks’ time.

 

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