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Negotiations for 2021 contractual deliveries continue in Europe and the US with unexpected issues modifying the positions of sellers and buyers. Despite differences between the regions, the current major drivers have contributed to create a seller's market; the understanding and assessment of these drivers is of enormous significance in contract talks.

In our recent article, “PET (and raw materials) negotiations for 2021; Are you ready?”, Tecnon OrbiChem analysed the global overcapacity for all products involved in the polyester chain (PX, PTA, MEG and PIA) and the uncertainties for 2021. All these comments remain valid, and we are now seeing how other factors are affecting the regional performance of the industries involved, despite huge global overcapacities. We analyse how the pandemic has changed the way people behave, work and consume, but also how industries (oil, petrochemicals, chemicals, bottling and packaging, maritime transport, and many others) respond and adapt to the new scenario.

Added to the normal volatility in raw materials and exchange rates, we are currently experiencing additional and increasing volatility in demand levels, freight rates, recycled PET, and other factors impacting trade (Brexit, RCEP, antidumping MEG in Europe). New legislation (taxation) on non-recyclable plastic will add uncertainty and volatility in 2021 for virgin PET.

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