Webinar - COVID pandemic effects on the polyester industry
The COVID pandemic came at a bad time for the polyester industry, which was already on a steep downturn due to capacity addition in China. Howver, demand showed remarkable resilience.
Fibre mills re-opened quickly after shutdowns during the initial confinements. Bottled drinks sales reconfigured around formats for home consumption rather than those normally consumed when working or travelling. Low oil prices and surging upstream capacity dropped input costs and upstream margins, causing a sharp drop in PET resin and fibre prices, and thus aiding competitiveness against both recycle and alternative materials. The outlook remains challenging, with a massive capacity build underway at all stages in the polyester chain in China. While Chinese coal-based MEG suffers in the lower oil price environment, a new methanol-based process is being trialled at a world-scale plant in China, which could radically change the global MEG market if successful.