Grupa Azoty reduces production in March and April after difficult first quarter in 2023 - Issue 391 || PKN Orlen-petrochemical production Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Central European styrene trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Polish polyethylene production & trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Polish polypropylene production & trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Polish synthetic rubber trade, Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Central European MDI trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Central European methanol trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Russian chemical industry-new terminals required to serve Chinese market - Issue 391 || Russian butadiene production Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Russian plastics and polyethylene production Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Russian polyethylene trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || PTA deliveries from China to Kaliningrad - Issue 391 || Russian methanol production Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Russian methanol exports, Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Methanol plant at Volgograd signs agreement with Chinese company - Issue 391 || Russian polyurethane raw materials 2023 - Issue 391 || Uzbek methanol island-Air Products - Issue 391 || Russian Methanol Production, exports and domestic sales 2023 - Issue 392 || Polish petrochemical production Jan-May 2023 - Issue 392 || Olefin 111 project outline - Issue 392 || Polimex Mostostal and Naftoremont-Naftobudowa-Olefin 111 project - Issue 392 || Hungarian propylene exports Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 392 || Central European styrene trade Jan-May 2023 - Issue 392 || Czech petrochemical trade, Jan-May 2023 - Issue 392 || Polish rubber trade Jan-May 2023 - Issue 392 || Hungarian TDI-MDI exports Jan-Feb 2023 - Issue 392 || Russian propylene exports & sales Jan-May 2023 - Issue 392 || KPI polypropylene outage & exports - Issue 392 || Russian methanol producer operational balances 2023 - Issue 396 || Russian Methanol Exports October 2023 - Issue 396 || Polish Polyol Exports 2022-2023 - Issue 396 || Polish Polyol Imports 2022-2023 - Issue 396 || Central European isocyanate trade Jan-Sep 2023 - Issue 396 || Czech polyol imports Jan-Sep 2023 - Issue 396 || Polish polyol trade Jan-Sep 2023 - Issue 396 || Isocyanate/polyol imports from China into Russia - Issue 396 ||
 


Central European chemical market news March 2024

Czech crude imports Jan-Dec 2023

Czech Crude Imports Jan-Dec 2023

Country

Vol mil tons

€ per ton

Azerbaijan

1.965

655.0

Kazakhstan

0.756

648.3

Russia

4.387

543.1

US

0.181

596.1

Others

0.197

635.1

Total

7.487

615.503

 

Russia supplied 4.387 million tons to the Czech Republic in the full year of 2023 at an average price of €543.1 per ton.  Azerbaijan was the second largest supplier, providing 1.965 million tons at an average price of $655.0 per ton.  Although the Czech Republic is striving to move away completely from Russian crude the second half of 2024 may be particularly difficult when the capacity of the TAL pipeline will be temporarily limited due to modifications.

Polish oil imports Jan-Dec 2023

From the total of 19.291 million tons of crude imported into Poland in 2023, supplies from Saudi Arabia totalled 8.871 million tons at €559.4 per ton and from Norway 6.032 million tons at €545.2 per ton.  

Polish Crude Imports Jan-Dec 2023

Country

Vol (mil tons)

€ per ton

Saudi Arabia

11.294

576.8

Lithuania

0.032

590.5

Russia

1.150

316.4

Nigeria

1.118

606.2

Norway

8.753

571.1

US

1.412

602.5

UK

0.893

620.6

Others

0.352

0.0

Total

25.004

567.4

Orlen has achieved consistently higher refining margins than MOL despite than the MOL Group despite receiving some Russian discount.  MOL has already started transporting crude oil from its oil field in Azerbaijan to Slovnaft in Bratislava via the Adria oil pipeline, but still require Russian supplies.

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Orlen has gradually become more independent of Russian sources over the past decade.  Supplies from Russia ended in late February 2023. 

Polish petrochemical production Jan-Dec 2023

Polish Petrochemical Production

(unit-kilo tons)

 Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

 Ethylene

310.6

459.2

 Propylene

285.2

416.7

 Butadiene

49.4

59.5

 Toluene

0.5

13.7

 Phenol

38.9

42.8

 Polyethylene

271.2

318.2

 PVC

155.8

276.1

 Polypropylene

265.1

321.8

 

Ethylene production in Poland dropped from 459,200 tons in January to December 2022 to 310,600 tons in 2023, whilst propylene fell from 416,700 tons to 285,200 tons.  Butadiene production at Plock dropped to 49,400 tons from 59,500 tons. 

Due to these declines in petrochemical production and other sectors chemical production in Poland fell overall by 21% in 2023 against 2022.  In the plastics sector polyethylene production dropped to 271,200 tons in January to December 2023 versus 318,200 tons in 2023.  Polypropylene production at Plock dropped from 321,800 tons to 265,100 tons.  PVC production fell from 276,100 tons to 155,800 tons with the plant at Wloclawek idle in the last three months of 2023.

Orlen Group fourth quarter and Jan-Dec 2023

Orlen Q1-Q4 2023

  • Revenues boosted by Lotos and PGNiG acquisition
  • Refining profits affected by ending of Russian crude
  • Group refineries ran at 88% in Q1-Q4 2023
  • Weak performance reported in petrochemicals

Revenues for the Orlen Group amounted to zl 372.640 billion (€86.179 billion) in 2023 versus zl 282.434 billion (€65.425 billion) in 2022.  The Group’s fourth-quarter results were impacted by the performance of the gas segment, which helped offset some of the declines recorded in refining and petrochemicals.

Orlen Petrochemical Margins (€ per ton)

Product

Q1 22

Q2 22

Q3 22

Q4 22

Q1 23

Q2 23

Q3 23

Q4 23

Ethylene

 664

 810

 639

 606

 668

 664

 547

 621

Propylene

 679

 820

 598

 514

 564

 554

 421

 484

Toluene

 155

 450

 619

 428

 413

 455

 530

 348

Benzene

 333

 422

 429

 115

 312

 393

 233

 331

Butadiene

 410

 547

 614

 489

 396

 369

 115

 173

PX

 262

 586

 586

 593

 544

 481

 419

 440

Petrochemical margins have been consistent with historical data in the past year, with the exception of butadiene in the second half of 2023, but the main problem has been the drop in volume sales.  Butadiene margins amounted to €173 per ton in the fourth quarter last year, rising from €115 in the third quarter, but dropping sharply from the peak of €614 in the third quarter in 2022.  In the aromatics sector benzene and paraxylene margins were somewhat stable although toluene margins showed more volatility dropping from €530 per ton in the third quarter to €348 in the fourth.

Despite relative stability in margins Orlen’s sales of petrochemicals dropped to 977,000 tons in the fourth quarter in 2023 against 1.133 million tons in the same quarter in 2022.  Total sales declined to 4.379 million tons in 2023 against 5.013 million tons in 2022. 

Orlen Petrochemical Divisional Performance (€ million)

 

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Sales revenues

4255.0

6833.9

External revenues

3311.1

5545.4

Inter-segment revenues

943.9

1288.5

Total operating expenses

-4718.4

-6321.3

Profit/(Loss) from operations

-388.4

491.1

Last year was particularly difficult for European petrochemical producers, with costs for many companies exceeding revenues. 

Orlen’s sales revenues from petrochemicals totalled €6.985 billion in 2022 against costs of €6.461 billion, thus remaining profitable, but dropped to €4.255 billion in 2023 against production costs from energy, raw materials, transport, etc to €4.838 billion.

Orlen's refining business was affected last year by ending purchases of Russian raw materials.  Currently, crude oil is supplied from the North Sea, West Africa, the Mediterranean basin, as well as the Persian and Mexican Gulfs. An important partner in the supply of crude is Saudi Aramco, for which Orlen concluded a strategic contract for the supply of crude oil in 2022. 

Orlen’s refineries in Poland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania operated at 88% in the fourth quarter in 2023.  Overall, for 2023 refining volumes in the three countries belonging to the Orlen Group totalled 38.529 million tons against 37.020 million tons in 2022.    

Orlen Petrochemical Plant Utilisation Rates%

Division

Q1 23

Q2 23

Q3 23

Q4 23

Olefins (Plock)

78

70

67

37

BOP (Plock)

70

67

67

38

Metathesis (Plock)

51

18

0

0

Fertilisers (Wloclawek)

64

42

61

81

PTA (Wloclawek)

66

51

65

55

Olefins (Orlen Unipetrol)

85

49

82

81

PPF Splitter (Orlen Lietuva

81

80

82

84

Orlen Group utilisation rates

The olefins complex at Plock recorded a utilisation rate of only 37% in the fourth quarter against 70% in the second quarter and 78% in the first quarter.  Lower utilisation was seen to a lesser extent in the third quarter due to deficit in feedstock (CDU VI and hydrocracking shutdowns at the refinery).  Basell Orlen Polyolefins at Plock recorded lower utilisation rates in the fourth quarter, due in part to the availability of monomer feedstocks. 

Orlen-Olefiny 111 debt financing

Costs for Orlen’s Olefiny 111 petrochemical investment at Plock have escalated in the past two years which as a result has forced Orlen to revise its investment strategy for construction.  In order to complete the both the external and internal parts of the project, including utilities, Orlen requires additional financing. 

In February Orlen approved the disposal of properties situated in the Stara Biala Municipality and Plock, together with their component parts, to be affected through their contribution in kind as payment for shares in the increased share capital of Orlen Olefiny.  The requested approval for the sale of the property to the SPV represents one of the most important conditions for achieving financial closure for the project.

Low demand also meant that Metathesis propylene plant at Plock was kept idle in the third and fourth quarters after only operating on a limited basis in the second quarter.  This impacted on propylene production for the Orlen Group which fell from 472,000 tons in 2022 to 362,000 tons in 2023. 

Other Orlen Group plants in Poland reported lower utilisation rates in 2023 due predominantly to demand side factors, including the PVC plant and PTA plant at Wloclawek.  Outside of Poland, Orlen Unipetrol achieved 81% utilisation at the Litvinov olefins complex in the fourth quarter after recovering from 49% in the second quarter.  In Lithuania Orlen Lietuva’s PPF splitter achieved an 84% utilisation rate in the third quarter. 

MOL’s petrochemical division Jan-Dec 2023

MOL's Olefin Production

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Ethylene

648

639

 Propylene

346

330

Butadiene

63

70

Raffinate

95

109

Lower petrochemical margins contributed to MOL’s the 41% drop in full year downstream EBITDA, which amounted to $1.328 billion.  More normal refinery margins were seen in 2023 against 2022 coupled with excessive extraordinary taxes that could only partly be offset by higher production and sales volumes.  The fourth quarter recorded an EBITDA of $456 million which was down by 3% against the second quarter. 

Despite a slight increase compared to the previous quarter, petrochemical margins remained weak in the fourth quarter.  As a result, the petrochemicals EBITDA continued to be in the red, contributing negatively to EBITDA in the whole of 2023.

Despite the weak demand MOL’s ethylene production in Hungary and Slovakia amounted to 648,000 tons in 2023 against 639,000 tons in 2022.  Propylene production rose from 330,000 tons to 346,000 tons, whilst butadiene decreased from 70,000 tons to 63,000 tons.   External olefin sales for MOL comprise ethylene shipments to BorsodChem for PVC production and internal group sales involve propylene to Slovnaft for polypropylene production.  In total olefin sales amounted to 157,000 tons against 156,000 tons in 2022. 

MOL’s petrochemical sales fell in the third quarter and fourth quarters both for olefins and butadiene, with petrochemical margins dropping progressively since the second quarter in 2022. 

MOL Group's most significant commitments in Hungary relate to a polyol project of MOL Petrochemicals (€105.8 million), which aims to become a major producer of polyether polyols.  Another €106.9 million is being invested in the construction of the metathesis project, which is a greenfield investment providing additional propylene for the polyol complex.  For the expansion of the maleic anhydride plant at the Danube refinery, located at Szazhalombatta, €30.7 million has been allocated.  Other projects being undertaken by MOL in Hungary include a revamp of the PP3 unit and modernisation of the ethylene.  In Croatia the Rijeka refinery, belonging to MOL subsidiary INA is undergoing an upgrade project.

HIP Petrohemija-production 2023 and investment targets

HIP Petrohemija Production and Sales

(€ per ton)

 

2nd half 2023

2nd half 2022

Production

193.4

268.1

Sales

149.0

174.3

HIP Petrohemija was taken over fully by Naftna Industrija Srbije (NIS) from the second half of 2023, providing additional income for NIS of €130.1 million in the period July to December.  For the purposes of fair value estimation, HIP Petrohemija is viewed as a single cash-generating unit which includes facilities for cracker ethylene, HDPE, LDPE and synthetic rubber. 

The first planned maintenance shutdown undertaken at the HIP Petrohemija plant took place between 15 September and 31 October 2023, which meant that production and sales of petrochemicals were lower in the second half of the year.   The investment and overhaul activities contributed to increasing safety, improving energy efficiency, and the safe and reliable operation of the plant in the coming period. 

The strategy of further development of HIP Petrohemija will be based on the modernisation of basic production capacities and the construction of new facilities, then on increasing energy efficiency and business efficiency, as well as on the implementation of projects in the field of environmental protection.  Key investment activities have been carried out in the ethylene and PENG factories, and the aim is to increase the reliability of the plant, as well as increase operational and energy efficiency.

Czech olefin monomer trade, Jan-Dec 2023

Czech Olefin Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Ethylene

28.803

23.198

Propylene

39.408

38.321

Butadiene

65.772

67.014

 

Czech imports of ethylene amounted to 28,303 tons in January to December 2023, up from 23,198 tons in January to December 2022.  Ethylene exports from the Czech Republic amounted to 14,323 tons in January to December 2023 versus 12,560 tons in 2022.

Propylene imports into the Czech Republic rose from 38,321 tons in January to December 2022 to 39,408 tons in 2023, with main suppliers including Germany, Romania and Poland.  Average prices for propylene imports dropped in 2023 to €943.7 per ton from €1358.6 per ton in 2022. 

Czech Olefin Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Ethylene

14.323

12.560

Propylene

21.244

3.070

Exports of propylene at the same increased to 21,244 tons, up from only 3,070 tons in 2022.  The main destination for Czech propylene exports was Poland, taking 15,094 tons in January to December this year.  Czech imports of butadiene amounted to 65,772 tons in January to December 2023, all of which was supplied by Germany and Hungary.  Prices dropped dropping from €1178 per ton to €831.9 per ton.  Nearly all the butadiene went to Kralupy for conversion into synthetic rubber.   

Czech exports of ethylbenzene amounted to 96,210 tons against 79,271 tons in January to December 2022.  All the ethylbenzene was shipped from Kralupy to Oswiecim, all within the structures of the Synthos Group. 

Czech Imports of Propylene (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Germany

32.657

19.124

Bulgaria

4.725

4.825

Poland

0.000

5.976

Romania

1.048

5.251

Russia

0.000

1.220

Slovakia

0.066

0.993

Ukraine

0.000

0.524

Others

0.912

0.408

Total

39.408

38.321

Av € per ton

887.9

1358.6

Propylene imports into the Czech Republic rose from 29,512 tons in January to December 2022 to 33,210 tons in 2023, with main suppliers including Germany, Romania and Poland.  Average prices for propylene imports dropped in 2023 to €943.7 per ton against €1436.5 per ton.  Exports of propylene at the same increased to 21,244 tons in 2023, up from only 3,070 tons in 2022.  The main destination for Czech propylene exports was Poland, taking 15,094 tons in 2023. 

Czech imports of butadiene amounted to 65,772 tons in January to December 2023, all of which was supplied by Germany and Hungary.  Prices dropped from €1178 per ton to €866 per ton.  Nearly all the butadiene went to Kralupy for conversion into synthetic rubber.  

Polish propylene & butadiene imports, Jan-Dec 2023

Polish Monomer Import Costs

(€ per ton)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Propylene

884.4

1251.5

Butadiene

959.3

1208.8

Styrene

1156.1

1561.2

 

Polish Imports of Propylene (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Bulgaria

14.962

7.922

Croatia

5.588

8.579

Czech Republic

17.350

0.000

Germany

58.157

63.477

Hungary

2.337

0.000

Russia

0.000

21.625

Ukraine

0.000

17.018

Serbia

4.828

0.000

Netherlands

18.795

0.000

Others

2.325

3.918

Total

124.343

122.540

Av € per ton

884.4

1251.5

Contract prices of propylene and butadiene fell on average around a third against 2022.  The decline in prices has been driven in part by lower average prices of crude oil as well as the demand and supply dynamics.  The contract price of propylene in Europe increased towards the end of the third quarter, while production in the downstream sectors improved.  Any improvement in the latter part of 2023 was not been enough to eradicate the oversupply, meaning that prices have again come under pressure. 

Polypropylene demand has proved relatively stable but other derivative areas such as oxo alcohols and propylene oxide for the polyol industry continue to experience lower consumption than normal.  European crackers and refineries operated at their minimum technical loads in the early part of the third quarter, which helped to minimise the oversupply of propylene. 

Polish Butadiene Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Austria

32.668

31.678

Czech Republic

0.909

1.484

France

0.000

3.439

Germany

28.981

20.513

Hungary

23.077

32.298

Others

5.161

0.094

Total

89.887

89.506

Av € per ton

959.3

1208.8

Poland imported 124,373 tons of propylene in January to December 2023 against 122,540 tons in January to December 2022.  Market sources of propylene changed sharply since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, firstly ending Russian shipments due to self-sanctioning and secondly from Ukraine where the sole petrochemical complex at Kalush had to stop production.     To replace imports from traditional suppliers Russia and Ukraine, imports this year apart from Germany have been sourced from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Serbia.   Average prices dropped from €1251.5 per ton in January to December 2022 to €884.4 in 2022.

Butadiene import prices for Poland dropped from €1208.8 per ton in January to December 2022 to €959.3 per ton in January to December 2023 with volumes rising slightly from 89,506 tons to 89,887 tons.  Imports from Hungary dropped from 32,898 tons in 2022 to 23,077 tons. 

Hungarian butadiene exports amounted to 40,024 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 46,514 tons in the same period in 2022.  Shipments into Poland totalled 22,059 tons in January to November 2023 against 35,355 tons in the same period in 2022.  Exports to Germany dropped from 6,049 tons to 3,014 tons and to the Czech Republic rose from 5,110 tons to 14,951 tons.  Average prices for Hungarian butadiene exports fell to €822.3 per ton versus €1023.5 in 2022.

Central European styrene trade Jan-Dec 2023

Polish Styrene Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Belgium

7.205

9.866

Czech Republic

12.735

12.045

Finland

   0.844

0.836

Netherlands

32.356

51.779

Germany

12.372

17.077

Others

 7.019

3.841

Total

72.532

95.444

Av € per ton

1156.1

1561.2

 

Synthos was largely responsible for the imports of 72,532 tons of styrene into Poland in 2023 dropping from 95,444 tons in 2022.  The Netherlands was the leading supplier, shipping 32,356 tons to Poland which dropped from 51,779 tons in 2022.  Styrene import costs into Poland dropped from €1561.2 per ton in 2022 to €1156.1 in 2023. 

Hungarian styrene imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Italy

63.033

78.490

Netherlands

4.326

4.414

Others

0.560

0.066

Total

68.653

89.285

Av € per ton

1394.5

1672.9

Italy remains the dominant source of styrene imports into Hungary, supplied by Versalis to its polystyrene plant at Szazhalombatta.  Imports of styrene into Hungary totalled 63,033 tons in January to November 2023, down from 78,490 tons in the same period in 2022.  Prices for styrene imports into Hungary dropped from €1672.9 per ton in January to November 2022 to €1394.5 per ton in 2023.

Czech Styrene Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Belgium

1.116

3.334

Germany

6.332

0.187

Netherlands

16.197

18.943

Poland

0.000

2.912

Others

5.690

2.176

Total

29.335

27.551

Av price per ton

1014.1

1611.6

Styrene imports into the Czech Republic increased from 27,551 tons to 29,335 tons in 2023.  The main consumer is Synthos at Kralupy for processing into synthetic rubber.  The Netherlands was the main supplier, shipping 16,197 tons versus 18,943 tons whilst shipments from Germany amounted to 6,332 tons in January to December 2023 against almost only 187 tons in 2022. 

Styrene exports from the Czech Republic increased from 10,645 tons in 2022 to 14,436 tons in January to December 2023.  Exports were allowed to increase last year due to lower SBR production and thus less styrene consumption at Kralupy.  Czech exports of ethylbenzene amounted to 96,210 tons against 79,271 tons in January to December 2022. 

Central European polyolefin margins Q4 2023

Despite lower sales volumes in Europe last year polyethylene margins still averaged €365 per ton in the fourth quarter against €297 per ton in the first quarter in 2022.   Most producers reported lower polyolefin sales in 2023 due to recessionary trends affecting most of Europe.  Demand for LDPE and HDPE in Central Europe tended to stabilise in the third and fourth quarters but at the same time only showing only slight signs of growth in certain applications.  Prices have been on a falling trajectory this year, and with lower feedstock costs and margins have started to level out. 

Central European polyolefins production Jan-Dec 2023

Polish Polyolefin Production

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Polyethylene

271.2

318.2

Polypropylene

265.1

321.8

 

Production of polyethylene in Poland fell from 318,200 tons in 2022 to 271,200 tons in 2023.  Polypropylene production fell from 321,800 tons in 2022 to 265,100 tons in January to December 2023.  Currently polypropylene production in Poland takes place at Plock, but in the near future production will start at the new Polimery Police plant.  This plant was expected to start in August or September, but problems with the equipment during the start-up phase has been the cause of the delay.  

MOL's Polyolefin Production

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

LDPE

210

216

HDPE

285

286

PP

476

444

PE Totals

495

502

The MOL Group reduced polyethylene production less than Orlen, falling slightly from 502,000 tons in 2022 to 495,000 tons in 2023 at its two plants in Hungary and Slvakia.  HDPE production at Tiszaujvaros dropped from 286,000 tons to 285,000 tons.  Polyolefin sales from the MOL Group amounted to a total of 978,000 tons in 2023 994,000 tons in 2022.

Czech polyethylene production and trade Jan-Dec 2023

 

Production of polyethylene at Litvinov amounted to 354,000 tons in the period January to December 2023 against 370,000 tons in 2022. 

Czech polyethylene exports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

LDPE

28.276

30.275

LLDPE

3.595

4.763

HDPE

354.103

357.022

EVA

3.187

5.859

Other

20.966

14.260

Total

410.125

412.178

Av € per ton

1381.851

1849.476

 

Consumption of polyethylene in the Czech Republic has mirrored other markets in Europe in the past two years, with quarterly volumes falling sharply in 2023.  Overall, for 2023 Czech polyethylene consumption fell to 235,604 tons against 269,901 tons in 2022. 

Czech prices for both exports and imports of polyolefins were lower in 2023 against 2022.  Polyethylene exports amounted to 410,125 tons in 2023 against 412,178 tons in 2022. 

HDPE export shipments comprised 354,103 tons in 2023 against 357,022 tons in 2022.  Germany was the largest destination for Czech HDPE supplied from Litvinov in 2023, amounting to 141,703 tons in January to December for €167.993 million.  Other important markets for Czech polyethylene exports include Poland, Italy and Belgium. 

Czech polyethylene imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

LDPE

99.552

119.759

LLDPE

22.996

22.027

HDPE

117.885

115.372

EVA

10.187

10.318

Other

41.109

42.153

Total

291.729

309.629

Av € per ton

1579.5

1929.2

For imports of all forms of polyethylene, Czech inward shipments amounted to 291,729 tons in January to December 2023 against 309,629 tons in 2022, with prices dropping from €1929.2 per ton to €1579.5 per ton.  Germany was the largest source of polyethylene imports, amounting to 62,780 tons for €94.108 million, followed by Belgium with 35,954 tons for €55.357 million.

Polish polyethylene trade Jan-Dec 2023

Polish Polyethylene Trade

Exports

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Vol (kilo tons)

282.519

343.998

Value (€ million)

379.6

558.5

Av € per ton

1343.6

1623.7

Imports

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Vol (kilo tons)

1249.657

1314.290

Value (€ million)

1703.4

2348.0

Av € per ton

1370.8

1786.5

Polish trade in polyethylene declined in 2023, for both imports and exports and both in volume and value.  Economic conditions affected both demand and pricing.   Overall Poland carries a large deficit in polyethylene supply, which is major factor behind Orlen’s Olefiny 111 project at Plock now under construction.

Polish PE imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

LDPE

345.195

351.894

LLDPE

204.920

238.186

HDPE

423.415

455.577

EVA

18.637

17.758

EAO

206.308

194.548

Others

51.182

56.328

Total

1249.657

1314.290

Av € per ton

1370.8

1786.5

Polish imports of polyethylene totalled 1.250 million tons in 2023 against 1.314 million tons in January to December 2022, with average prices falling from €1786.5 per ton to €1370.8 per ton.  Imports of polyolefins and all types of plastics from Russia into Poland saw a progressive decline in 2022, with other suppliers from Europe taking more market share. 

Total costs of polyethylene imports into Poland amounted to €1.703 billion against €2.348 billion in 2022.  HDPE is the largest category of imported polyethylene into Poland, amounting to 423,415 tons in January to December versus 455,577 tons in January to December 2022.  Germany was the largest supplier of HDPE to the Polish market in 2023.   

Polish PE Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Product Group

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

LDPE

56.102

63.736

LLDPE

15.993

21.614

HDPE

188.700

227.634

EVA

10.750

3.669

EAO

6.002

22.886

Other

4.972

4.459

Total

282.519

343.998

€ per ton

1343.6

1623.7

LLDPE imports dropped from 238,186 tons in January to December 2022 to 204,920 tons in the corresponding period in 2023.  Most of the LLDPE imports were sourced mostly from West Europe, including France, the Netherlands and Germany.  LDPE imports remained relatively stable, amounting to 345,195 tons versus 351,894 tons in 2022.

Polish polyethylene exports amounted to 282,519 tons in 2023 against 343,998 tons in 2022.  Average prices for polyethylene exports from Poland declined to €1343.6 per ton against an average of €1623.7 per ton in the period January to December 2022. 

Revenues from exports decreased from €558.548 million to €379.589 million in January to December 2023.  Exports of HDPE from Poland amounted to 188,700 tons versus 227,634 tons in January to December 2022.  LDPE exports dropped from 63,736 tons to 56,102 tons.

Hungarian polyethylene trade Jan-Nov 2023

Hungarian Polyethylene Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

LLDPE

6.124

4.824

LDPE

77.782

80.409

HDPE

206.885

211.228

Other

11.180

18.616

Total

301.971

315.513

Av € per ton

1244.515

1572.610

 

Hungarian polyethylene exports were slightly lower in the first eleven months in 2023, amounting to 301,971 tons against 315,513 tons in the same period in 2022. Revenues fell from €496.180 million to €375.808 million in 2023, meaning that average prices dropped from €1572.6 per ton in 2022 to €1244.5 per ton. 

Hungarian Polyethylene Imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

LLDPE

31.015

19.501

LDPE

41.790

47.504

HDPE

79.388

86.289

EAO

8.486

9.522

EVA

3.966

5.061

Other

38.820

19.183

Total

203.464

187.060

Av € per ton

1478.1

1858.9

HDPE shipments from Hungary amounted to 206,885 tons in January to November 2023 versus 211,228 tons in the same eleven months in 2023, whilst exports of LDPE dropped from 80,409 tons to 77,782 tons. 

Hungary remains a net exporter of LDPE and HDPE and still a net importer of LLDPE and ethylene copolymers.  In the first eleven months in 2023 imports of all grades of polyethylene into Hungary amounted to 203,464 tons against 187,060 tons in the same period in 2022.  Import costs for polyethylene fell to €300.742 million against €347.727 million.

Hungarian import prices for polyethylene decreased on average from €1858.9 in January to November 2022 to €1478.1 in the first eleven months in 2023 with gradual price declines since the start of the year. 

Polish PP Trade Jan-Dec 2023

Polish PP Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Category

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

PP homo

594.789

609.740

Polyisobutylene

3.053

3.509

Propylene copolymers

292.816

289.262

Other

25.449

21.255

Total

916.108

923.766

Av €/ton

1458.1

1787.7

 

Polish polypropylene imports, including homo grade and copolymers, fell in January to December 2023 to a total of 916,108 tons versus 923,766 tons in January to December 2022.  Average prices per ton for all types of polypropylene decreased from €1787.7 to €1458.1 per ton.  Homo grade polypropylene imports specifically dropped from 609,740 tons in 2022 to 594,789 tons in 2023, whilst copolymer imports increased from 289,262 tons to 292,816 tons. 

Polish PP Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Category

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

PP homo

141.641

171.423

Polyisobutylene

0.723

0.341

Propylene copolymers

67.703

86.394

Other

3.068

4.611

Total

213.135

262.768

Av €/ton

1436.8

1865.9

Germany supplied 61,531 tons of propylene copolymers to Poland in 2023 for €98.881 million followed by the Netherlands with 34,109 tons for €52.461 million and Belgium supplying 30,852 tons for €51.305 million. 

Regarding export activity from Poland, shipments amounted to 213,135 tons against 262,768 tons in January to December 2022.  Homo polymer grades comprised the main category of Polish polypropylene exports, where Germany was the largest destination taking 35,183 tons in for €45.982 million.  Germany was followed by the Czech Republic taking 29,268 tons from Poland for €34.250 million. 

Polish PP Supply/Demand Balance

(unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Production

265.1

321.8

Exports

213.1

262.8

Imports

916.108

923.766

Market Balance

968.1

982.8

Polimery Police preparing for start-up tests

The Polish market for polypropylene is dominated by import activity, with inward shipments amounting to 916,000 tons in 2023 against exports of 213,100 tons. 

The deficit in the trade balance was probably the main factor influencing Grupa Azoty to invest in the Polimery Police project.  The project itself had progressed as scheduled until the past twelve months when the main contractor Hyundai informed Azoty of difficulties in completing construction. 

Notwithstanding financial difficulties for Grupa Azoty, the current status of the project requires an integrity test of the plant to be carried out in the first quarter and the start of commercial operation of the plant in the first half of 2024. The integrity test should show if the plant has been completed to the technical specification and to identify any bugs before production is started.  Propylene and polypropylene have thus far passed positive tests and are available for sale, including over 30 types of Gryfilen polypropylene.  The product range includes homopolymers, random copolymers and impact copolymers. The first types of polypropylenes have already been produced of which the first two are on regular sale.  These include products for the production of strings and strapping tapes, and for the production of rigid packaging in thermoforming technology.    Another product is being designed for the production of BOPP film.

Polimery Police Main Production Facilities

 

Licensor

Capacity (ktpa)

PDH

OLEFLEX

430

PP

UNIPOL

440

Grupa Azoty Polyolefins has set out plans to operate Polimery Police at up to 70% of its nominal capacity in the first half this year, with the aim of increasing production to full capacity by the end of the third quarter. 

Czech polypropylene production and trade Jan-Dec 2023

Czech polypropylene exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

PP Homo

224.071

253.671

Propylene Copolymers

46.604

51.155

Other

28.327

3.069

Total

299.002

307.896

Av € per ton

1368.3

1632.9

Czech polypropylene imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

PP Homo

295.929

288.258

Propylene Copolymers

214.690

191.580

Other

14.824

17.641

Total

525.443

497.479

Av € per ton

1584.8

1909.1

Production of polypropylene at Litvinov amounted to 207,000 tons in the period January to December 2023 against 278,000 tons in 2022.  Consumption of polypropylene in the Czech Republic fell to 390,502 tons against 470,303 tons in 2022.  Polypropylene is much more widely used in the Czech plastics industry than polyethylene.

Exports of all forms of polypropylene from the Czech Republic amounted to 299,002 tons in January to December versus 307,896 tons in January to December 2022, with average prices dropping from €1632.9 per ton to €1368.3.  Homo-grade PP provides the main category of Czech polypropylene exports, amounting to 224,071 tons in 2023 last year versus 253,671 tons in 2022.   

For imports of all forms of polypropylene, Czech inward shipments increased to 525,443 tons in January to December 2023 from 497,479 tons in 2022, with average prices dropping from €1909.1 per ton to €1584.8 per ton.  Imports of propylene copolymers increased from 191,580 tons to 214,690 tons whilst homo grade polypropylene imports increased from 288,258 tons to 295,829 tons.    

Hungarian polypropylene trade Jan-Nov 2023

Hungarian Polypropylene Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

PP homo

115.905

105.149

Propylene copolymers

82.782

82.075

Others

13.445

15.084

Total

212.132

202.308

Av € per ton

1355.0

1805.1

 

MOL shipped 115,905 tons of homo grade polypropylene (valued at €154.360 million) in January to November 2023 which was up from 105,149 tons in the same period in 2022 (€189.736 million in value), whilst copolymer exports rose slightly from 82,075 tons (€159.195 million in value) tons to 82,782 tons (€116.803 million).    

Hungarian Polypropylene Imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

PP homo

109.463

117.255

Propylene copolymers

46.945

53.488

Others

27.843

26.992

Total

184.251

197.735

Av € per ton

1717.0

1779.5

Hungarian export revenues dropped for all grades of polypropylene from €365.189 million to €237.439 million, with average prices dropping from €1805.1 per ton to €1355.0.  Polypropylene imports into Hungary amounted to 184,251 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 versus 197,735 tons in the same period in 2022, with costs in January-November 2023 amounting to €316.205.520 million from €351.877 million in 2022. 

Overall average prices fell from €1779.5 per ton in 2022 to €1717.0 per ton in 2023, whilst copolymer prices dropped from €1845.9 to €1624.1 per ton.  By category homo grade imports into Hungary comprised 109,463 tons in January to November 2023 against 117,255 tons whilst copolymers fell to 46,945 tons against 53,488 tons.

Central European Rubber Markets

Czech Rubber Trade (unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

 Exports synthetic rubber

149.520

182.509

Imports synthetic rubber

98.084

155.873

Imports natural rubber

88.822

91.849

Czech synthetic rubber trade Jan-Dec 2023

Czech Exports of EBSR

 

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Kilo tons

24.545

65.352

€ million

40.822

131.530

Av € per ton

1663.1

2012.6

Czech exports of synthetic rubber amounted to 149,520 tons in January to December 2023 versus 182,509 tons in 2022.  Imports declined from 155,873 tons to 98,084 tons in January to December 2023.  Natural rubber imports into the Czech Republic dropped slightly from 91,849 tons to 88,822 tons.    

Exports of emulsion styrene butadiene rubber (ESBR) from the Czech Republic dropped in 2023 to 24,545 tons against a total of 65,352 tons in 2022.  Until it was stopped last year the Kralupy plant had a capacity of 110,000 tpa of ESBR and its permanent closure will reduce Synthos’ total ESBR capacity to 320,000 tpa.  Despite the closure of the Kralupy plant, Synthos remains the largest producer of ESBR in Europe, with 190,000 tpa of ESBR capacity at its site at Oswiecim and 130,000 tpa at Schkopau. 

Czech butadiene rubber trade Jan-Dec 2023

Czech Butadiene Rubber Exports

 

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Total (unit-kilo tons)

107.525

104.226

Revenues € million

180.264

228.571

Av € per ton

1502.0

2193.0

The Czech Republic exported a total of 107,525 tons of butadiene rubber in 2023 against 104,226 tons in 2022.  Average prices fell from €2193.0 per ton to €1502.0 per ton.  Czech exports of butadiene rubber to India amounted to 14,864 tons was shipped in January to December 2023 against 20,418 tons in 2022.  Other important markets included Poland where exports amounted to 13,372 tons in 2023 against 13,576 tons in 2022, and South Korea rising from 7,027 tons to 11,890 tons.   Exports to Slovakia rose from 8,470 tons to 11,610 tons.

Hungarian synthetic rubber Imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Butadiene Rubber

39.995

42.603

HBR

7.174

14.389

SBR

47.652

37.341

Other

20.804

20.475

Total

115.624

114.807

Revenues € mil

257.075

331.505

Av € per ton

2223.4

2887.5

Besides exports the Czech Republic also imported 24,271 tons of butadiene rubber in 2023 versus 28,871 tons in 2022. 

Hungarian synthetic rubber imports Jan-Nov 2023

Hungarian imports of synthetic rubber amounted to 115,624 tons in the first eleven months versus 114,807 tons in January to November 2022, whilst values dropped from €331.505 million to €257.075 million.  Average prices rose slightly from €2223.4 per ton to €2887.5 in 2023.

Hungarian butadiene rubber Imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Indonesia

13.226

4.073

Russia

2.318

13.142

Butadiene rubber imports dropped from 42,603 tons to 39,995 tons, with costs dropping from €94.409 million to €70.283 million.  Imports of butadiene rubber from Russia dropped from 13,142 tons to 2,318 tons in January to November 2023 whilst imports from Indonesia increased from 4,073 tons to 13,226 tons.  Imports of halogenated butyl rubber dropped from 14,389 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 7,174 tons and SBR imports rose from 37,341 tons to 47,652 tons.  

Polish rubber trade Jan-Dec 2023

Rubber import prices into Poland for both synthetic and natural recorded gradual declines during 2023 as a combination of economic factors took effect.  For all types of synthetic rubber average prices dropped from €2595.8 in 2022 to €2148.7 in 2023. 

Poland imported 265,947 tons of synthetic rubber in January to December 2023 against 288,439 tons in January to December 2022.  By category butadiene rubber was the largest, accounting for 55,043 tons against 57,699 tons in 2022.   Imports of synthetic rubber from Russia amounted to 50,547 tons in 2023 against 92,653 tons in 2022 and 133,341 tons in 2021. 

Polish Synthetic Rubber Imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

ESBR

21.225

13.371

Block SBR

40.325

39.289

S-SBR

23.615

15.447

Butadiene Rubber

55.043

57.699

Butyl Rubber

4.359

3.459

HBR

10.814

13.541

NBR

7.767

12.733

Isoprene Rubber

15.204

30.045

EPDM

43.500

44.931

Others

44.096

57.923

Total

265.947

288.439

Av € per ton

2,148.7

2,595.8

The largest grade of synthetic rubber imported from Russia to Poland in 2023 was block copolymers, amounting for 15,002 tons.

Russia supplied 12,149 tons of butadiene rubber to the Polish market in 2023 for €19.118 million.  Although much reduced than in previous years Russia is legally able to export most grades of synthetic rubber up until June 2024.  Sanctions were first imposed on Russia in July 2022 but were amended in February 2023 under pressure from European tyre manufacturers. 

Synthos from the Kralupy plant has been able to increase its butadiene rubber exports to Poland this year, amounting to 8,639 tons in 2023 for €15.235 million.  Saudi Arabia has been a new supplier of butadiene rubber to Poland since last year, replacing some Russian imports.  In 2023 imports from Saudi Arabia amounted to 8,931 tons for €12.979 million. 

Imports of halogenated butyl rubber from Russia amounted to 5,350 tons from the total of 10,814 tons in the period January to December 2023.  The US and UK have started supplying Poland this year to replace some of the Russian imports.   

2

Polish Exports of Synthetic Rubber

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

SBR

186.606

186.494

Butadiene Rubber

45.985

45.246

HBR

5.348

7.362

Others

35.010

46.199

Total

272.948

285.301

Av € per ton

1609.8

2026.9

Synthetic rubber exports from Poland amounted to 272,948 tons in 2023 against 285,301 tons in January to December 2022.   Exports of butadiene rubber from Poland amounted to 45,985 tons in January to December versus 45,246 tons in 2022.   Major destinations for Polish butadiene exports were led by Belgium which took 9,014 tons in 2023 for €13.346 million.  Exports of butadiene to Brazil amounted 6.883 tons for €9.836 million and the Czech Republic 4,993 tons for €8.028 million.

Poland exported 5,348 tons of halogenated butyl rubber in 2023 against 7,362 tons in 2022.  Halogenated butyl rubber is not produced in Poland and was previously imported from Russia.  Hungary was the largest destination for Polish exports of HBR in the period January to December 2023, accounting for 3,258 tons for €8.255 million.

Polish synthetic rubber production and domestic market Jan-Dec 2023

Synthos Production (unit-kilo tons)

 Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

 Polystyrene

72.7

68.3

 EPS

90.0

100.1

 Synthetic Rubber

207.6

258.7

 

Polish Tyre Production (unit-kilo tons)

 Category

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Car Tyres

204.9

225.2

Bus & truck Tyres

124.4

165.8

Tractor

5.9

9.2

Agricultural tyres

11.7

15.9

Total

346.7

416.2

Synthetic rubber production at Oswiecim for Synthos amounted to 207,600 tons in January to December 2023 from 258,700 tons in 2022.  Production of synthetic rubber has been affected by demand side factors which saw a reduction of consumption in the tyre sector from 416,200 tons in 2022 to 346,700 tons.  Rubber sales from Synthos dropped by about 10% in 2023.  On a quarterly basis there has been a decline in sales for each quarter from the start of 2022 through to the end of 2023.  By illustration, Synthos sold 256,000 tons of synthetic rubber in the first quarter in 2022 which declined to 130,000 tons in the fourth quarter last year.

Synthos is the largest European manufacturer of styrene butadiene rubber (ESBR and SSBR), also offers neodymium polybutadiene rubber (NdBR), high styrene rubber (HSR) and nitrile butadiene rubbers (NBR).

Central European aromatics and derivatives

Polish Aromatic Exports (unit-kilo tons)

 Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Benzene

119.319

119.908

PTA

177.601

308.023

Bisphenol A

4.111

7.356

TDI

4.455

2.979

Toluene

3.426

6.559

Polish benzene exports Jan-Dec 2023

Polish Aromatic Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Adipic Acid

10.402

10.840

Bisphenol A

14.089

10.315

Caprolactam

11.483

10.262

Ethylbenzene

117.818

102.921

Paraxylene

0.000

34.150

Phenol

86.254

95.198

Phthalic Anhydride

33.340

30.806

PTA

5.957

1.864

Styrene

59.990

92.211

TDI

70.880

68.962

Toluene

22.983

21.461

Poland is largely a net importer of aromatic products but does export large volumes of benzene and PTA.  Polish exports of benzene totalled 119,319 tons in January to December 2023 against 119,908 tons in 2022.  Average prices for benzene dropped to €774.2 per ton from €1031.0 per ton last year.  Germany purchased 107,357 tons from Poland in 2023 and the Czech Republic 16,356 tons.  Benzene exports from Poland were slightly lower in the first part of 2023 due to problems for Petrochemia Blachownia in receiving coal based raw materials from Ukraine.  Petrochemia Blachownia is part of the Czech Agrofert group.

Polish-Czech aromatic imports Jan-Dec 2023

Phenol imports into Poland amounted to 59,569 tons in January to December 2023 which was down from 79,440 tons in 2022.  In January to December last year Germany was the dominant supplier of phenol to Poland, shipping 32,231 tons for €30.553 million.   Russia previously provided phenol shipments to Poland, but the last delivery was made in early 2022. 

Polish Phenol Supply/Demand Balance

(unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Production

38.940

42.801

Exports

0.917

0.604

Imports

86.157

95.198

Market Balance

124.180

137.395

The market balance for phenol consumption in 2023 showed some decline, dropping from 137,395 tons in 2022 to 124,180 tons.  Phenol production at Plock fell from 42,801 tons to 38,940 tons.  The project to expand phenol capacity to 70,000 tpa appears to have been placed on hold. 

Czech Aromatic Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Benzene

16.446

30.256

Toluene

11.093

5.385

Ethylbenzene

123.791

109.889

Styrene

14.436

10.645

Czech Aromatic Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Benzene

25.656

72.591

Toluene

6.446

6.667

Styrene

29.375

14.093

Bisphenol A

26.864

29.069

Phthalic anhydride imports into Poland increased from 30,806 tons in January to December 2022 to 33,340 tons in the same period in 2023.  Imports from South Korea amounted to 16,741 tons in 2023 for €18.215 million, followed by Austria from the Schwechat plant with shipments of 4,433 tons for €6.704 million.  The Czech Republic supplied 3,433 tons for €4.943 million.  Phthalic anhydride is supplied by the Czech Republic from the Deza plant at Valasske Mezirici.

In other product areas, styrene imports amounted to 59,990 tons in the period January to December 2023 versus 92,211 tons in 2022 whilst ethylbenzene imports rose from 102,921 tons to 117,818 tons.  Nearly all of the ethylbenzene imports come from the Czech Republic.  All the ethylbenzene was shipped from Kralupy to Oswiecim, all within the structures of the Synthos Group. 

Regarding Czech trade in aromatic monomers and derivatives, styrene exports increased from Kralupy in 2023, rising to 14,436 tons from 10,645 tons in 2022.  Czech benzene imports dropped to 25,656 tons in 2023 against 72,591 tons in 2022, whilst toluene imports dropped to 6,446 tons and styrene rose to 29,375 tons up from 14,093 tons.  Imports of bisphenol A dropped from 29,069 tons to 26,864 tons.  There are two producers of benzene in the Czech Republic including Unipetrol at Litvinov and Deza at Valasske Mezirici.  Deza is owned by Agrofert and intends to increase the production capacity of benzene to 160,000 tpa in addition to toluene to 25,000 tpa. 

Bisphenol A imports into Central Europe

South Korean Exports of Bisphenol A

Main European customers (unit-kilo tons)

Country

2023

2022

2021

Czech Republic

13.824

11.072

10.544

Poland

11.445

6.909

6.135

Germany

52.157

15.514

8.303

 

Bisphenol A imports into the Czech Republic totalled 26,864 tons in 2023 against 29,069 tons in 2022.  Poland increased imports from 10,900 tons to 12,350 tons.  The largest user of bisphenol A in the Czech Republic is Spolchemie at Ust nad Labem, where epoxy resins are produced. 

The main source of imports is South Korea which supplied 13,824 tons to the Czech Republic in 2023 which was up from 11,072 tons in 2022.   Poland also increased shipments from South Korea last year rising from 6,909 tons to 11,445 tons from the total imports of 14,089 tons in 2023.  The largest European recipient of Korean BPA was Germany, rising to 52,157 tons against 15,514 tons in 2022.

Czech Epoxy Resins (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Austria

2.663

2.878

Germany

20.845

23.464

Spain

3.545

4.127

France

3.435

4.028

United Kingdom

1.476

1.776

Italy

4.100

4.476

Poland

1.661

2.508

Sweden

1.593

1.070

Turkey

2.186

1.819

Others

4.912

7.706

Total

46.416

53.853

Av Price per ton

3164.802

4567.2

 

Spolchemie’s capacity for epoxy resin production amounts to 100,000 tpa making it one of the largest producers in Europe.  Czech exports of epoxy resins amounted to 46,416 tons in 2023 against 53,843 tons in 2022.  Whilst volumes were similar, prices fell from €4,567.2 per ton to €3,164.8 per ton.  This price erosion took place after the decline in raw material prices combined with downward pressure from market conditions.  Germany remains the largest market for Czech epoxides, accounting for 20,845 tons in 2023 with the next largest being Italy which accounted for 4,100 tons.

Polish exports of epoxy resins amounted to 7,972 tons in 2023 at an average price of €2966.5 per ton against imports of 23,178 tons at an average price of €3045.0 per ton.  In Poland production takes place at Lerg (formerly Ciech Zywice) which is the sixth largest producer in Europe at 30,000 tpa.  Aside domestic production the most serious competitors in Poland include resin suppliers from Germany, the Czech Republic and Italy.

Hungarian aromatic trade Jan-Nov 2023

Hungarian Benzene Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Belgium

7.416

5.348

Czech Republic

1.005

14.833

Germany

25.473

47.886

France

12.237

13.663

Italy

1.217

8.765

Netherlands

16.677

1.005

Poland

0.000

1.018

Total

64.024

92.516

Av € per ton

830.1

1008.4

 

Hungarian Toluene Imports Jan-Nov 2023

Country

Kilo tons

€ million

Belgium

5.526

7.142

Germany

19.255

22.257

Netherlands

5.822

7.463

Slovakia

7.108

7.090

Total

40.113

46.169

 

Hungarian benzene exports in the first eleven months in 2023 amounted to 64,024 tons for total costs of €53.146 million.  Exports are distributed largely to Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic.  Exports dropped from 92,516 tons in January to November 2022 with average prices dropping from €1008.4 per ton to €830.1 per ton.  MOL produces benzene at the Százhalombatta refinery in Hungary, and the Bratislava refinery in Slovakia. Delivery is possible via road tank cars and rail tank cars.  MOL has a combined capacity of aromatics production at its two refineries of 400,000 tpa.

The production of toluene at Szazhalombatta is insufficient to cover Hungarian demand and thus imports are required.  Toluene imports into Hungary amounted to 40,113 tons in the first eleven months for €46.169 million in value.  Toluene imports last year were lower in correlation with lower TDI production.  Germany was the largest supplier of toluene providing 19,255 tons to the Hungarian market followed by Slovakia with 7,108 tons. 

Central European caprolactam market Jan-Dec 2023

Czech Caprolactam Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Belgium

2.075

11.041

Germany

1.240

13.840

Italy

12.614

27.225

Slovenia

3.727

6.549

Switzerland

2.027

4.657

Others

0.510

0.947

Total

22.192

36.369

Av € per ton

1519.1

2600.1

 

The Czech Republic exported 22,192 tons of caprolactam in 2023 down from 36,369 tons in 2022.  Average prices dropped from €2600.1 per ton to €1519.6 in 2023.  All of the exports were shipped to European countries.  Italy was the largest destination for Spolana’s exports, reducing shipments from 27,225 tons in 2022 to 36,369 tons in 2023.

Poland reduced production of caprolactam to 91,000 tons in 2023 against 133,000 tons in January to December 2022.  Since the second half of 2022 caprolactam production by Grupa Azoty at its two plants at Tarnow and Pulawy has been affected higher energy costs, combined with continuous weak demand for polyamide.  Caprolactam imports into Poland amounted to 11,483 tons in 2023, nearly all of which was supplied from Germany.  Poland became a net importer of caprolactam after its expansion of polyamide capacity at Tarnow.

Consumption of caprolactam in Poland dropped to 102,483 tons in 2023 against 143,517 tons in 2022.  The fourth quarter in 2023 did show some minor improvement over the second and third quarters but as illustrated production and consumption are way down compared to the first quarter in 2022.

Polish PTA exports Jan-Dec 2023

Polish PTA Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Belarus

1.322

4.511

Belgium

0.240

14.351

France

8.997

0.000

Germany

192.047

315.885

Lithuania

3.062

37.291

Switzerland

4.791

7.684

Turkey

11.971

5.984

Others

16.355

7.208

Total

238.786

392.913

Av Price €

753.1

992.9

Polish PTA Production and Trade

 

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Production (kilo tons)

410.0

572.0

Total Sales (kilo tons)

413.0

573.0

Total Revenues (€ million)

336.6

573.8

Exports (Kilo tons)

238.8

395.7

Export Revenues (€ million)

196.4

392.9

PKN Orlen operates a modern PX/PTA complex with a capacity of around 690,000 tpa of PTA.  PKN Orlen is the only producer in Europe to have production units fully integrated with paraxylene production.

The European nominal PTA production capacities total 3.985 million tpa.  This includes Indorama with a nominal production capacity of 1.750 million tpa and assets located in Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands.  Ineos Aromatics is Europe’s second largest PTA manufacturer, with a production capacity of 1.400 million tpa, located in Belgium.

In 2023 the Orlen Group undertook extended downtime at the PTA unit at Wloclawek, partly due technical needs and partly due to weak demand.  Revenues from PTA sales for Orlen, both for export or domestic, amounted to €336.6 million which was considerably lower of the €573.8 million in 2022.  By volume, sales dropped from 573,000 tons in January to December 2022 to 413,000 tons in January to December 2023.  Production at Wloclawek totalled 410,000 tons in 2023 against 572,000 tons.

The significant drop in Orlen’s production meant that PTA exports from Poland amounted to only 238,786 tons in January to December 2023 against 392,913 tons in January to December 2022.  Average prices fell from €992.9 per ton to €753.1 per ton.  Lower production impacted on exports to the traditional main destination Germany where deliveries fell from 315,885 tons in January to December 2022 to 192,047 tons.  

Turkey was the second largest destination for PTA export shipments, taking 11,971 tons versus 5,984 tons in 2022.  PTA producers anticipate that supply will remain limited into 2024, the prices of the raw material will be under pressure due to rising oil prices and downstream processors’ efforts to contain price hikes.

 

Hungarian TDI-MDI exports Jan-Nov 2023

Hungarian TDI Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Austria

2.749

2.452

Belgium

28.281

19.774

Germany

9.093

12.331

Italy

25.458

30.929

Poland

25.627

28.620

Portugal

10.158

10.917

Romania

13.414

13.235

Spain

9.530

8.893

Turkey

29.568

30.523

Others

67.869

57.920

Total

221.746

215.594

Av € per ton

2519.2

2862.8

 

Hungarian TDI exports rose in the first eleven months last year to 221,746 tons against 215,694 tons in January to November 2022.  Average prices dropped from €2862.8 per ton to €2519.2 in 2023.  Although prices overall were higher in the first half last year the trend has been falling gradually. 

Volume sales of TDI tended to increase in the latter part of 2023 after a difficult first half of the year.   Exports of TDI to Belgium rose from 19,774 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 28,281 tons in January to November 2023, whilst volumes to Italy fell from 30,929 tons to 25,458 tons. 

Hungarian MDI Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Czech Republic

6.632

6.100

Germany

19.091

21.115

Italy

9.507

5.094

France

7.904

8.953

UK

5.831

6.662

Poland

29.556

30.438

Romania

13.519

19.260

Turkey

11.115

11.132

US

0.000

23.562

Others

49.737

44.063

Total

152.892

176.380

Av price

1979.6

2572.8

 Elsewhere in West Europe exports to Portugal dropped from 10,917 tons to 10,158 tons, whilst shipments to Spain increased from 8,893 tons to 9,530 tons.  In Central Europe shipments to Poland fell from 28,620 tons to 25,627 tons and rose to Romania from 13,235 tons to 13,414 tons.

MDI exports from Hungary dropped in the first eleven months in 2022 from 176,380 tons to 152,892 tons in the same period in 2023. The most significant drop in sales was the US where no shipments were made in the first eleven months against 23,562 tons in January to November 2022.  MDI export prices underwent a different cycle to TDI, dropping from €2572.8 per ton in January to November 2022 to €1979.6 per ton this year.

Czech MDI imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

China

4.104

2.968

Belgium

9.453

11.826

Germany

5.956

7.822

Hungary

10.233

8.265

Netherlands

6.555

3.610

Others

2.031

1.128

Total

38.333

35.189

Av Price € per ton

2370.1

2486.4

Poland was the largest destination for Hungarian MDI exports, shipping 29,556 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 versus 30,438 tons in the same period in 2022.  Romania is the second largest market in Central and South East Europe, taking 13,519 tons in the first eleven months this year which was down from 19,260 tons. 

Central European isocyanate trade Jan-Dec 2023

MDI imports into the Czech Republic totalled 38,333 tons in January to December 2023 against 35,189 tons in 2022.  Average prices dropped from €2486.4 per ton to €2370.1 per ton.    The leading supplier was Hungary which shipped 10,233 tons against 8,265 tons.  TDI imports into the Czech Republic amounted to 7,173 tons in January to December 2023 versus 7,428 tons in January to December 2022.   

Polish MDI Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Germany

41.880

35.888

Netherlands

24.393

22.451

Hungary

36.106

34.957

Belgium

27.460

30.222

South Korea

6.461

2.761

Others

10.929

11.845

Total

147.230

138.124

Av € per ton

2023.7

2796.4

MDI imports into Poland totalled 147,230 tons in January to December 2023 against 138,124 tons in January to December 2023.  Average prices dropped from €2796.4 per ton to €2023.7 in January to December 2023.  Germany increased shipments to 41,880 tons against 35,888 tons in January to December 2022, whilst imports from Hungary amounted to 36,106 tons against 34,957 tons.

TDI imports into Poland amounted to 70,880 tons in January to December 2023 against 74,137 tons in January to December 2022.  Prices last year averaged €2524.5 per ton against

Polish TDI Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Belgium

2.266

1.766

Germany

17.219

18.953

Hungary

30.734

37.084

Netherlands

2.266

5.334

Saudi Arabia

2.318

2.718

South Korea

8.439

4.798

Others

1.959

3.484

Total

70.880

74.137

Av € per ton

2524.5

2720.4

€2720.4 per ton in 2022.  The cost of toluene was one of the factors behind the rise in TDI prices in the first half of the year but then slowed down later in the year allowing TDI prices to move downwards.  Besides imports, Poland exported 4,454 tons of TDI in 2023, of which 716 tons was shipped to Russia.

Czech polyol imports Jan-Dec 2023

Czech Polyol Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Belgium

13.706

11.099

Germany

8.719

8.333

France

6.968

5.674

Netherlands

4.135

4.273

Romania

2.452

2.313

Slovakia

4.652

4.517

Others

4.989

5.687

Total

46.229

41.896

Av € per ton

2419.9

2812.5

Czech polyol imports increased in 2023 to 46,229 tons against 41,896 tons in the same period in 2022, with average prices dropping from €2812.5 per ton last year to €2419.8 in 2023.  The leading supplier to the Czech market was Belgium which shipped 13,706 tons in the period January to December 2023 against 11,099 tons in 2022, followed by Germany which exported 8,719 tons which was up from 8,333 tons.  Hungary imported 28,049 tons of polyols in the first eleven months this year against 21,617 tons in the same period in 2022.  The largest source of imports came from Belgium in the first eleven months, amounting to 12,388 tons against 1,345 tons in the same period in 2022.

Polish polyol trade Jan-Dec 2023

Polish Polyol Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Belgium

19.202

22.806

China

6.435

3.459

France

4.701

0.000

Germany

31.992

24.462

Netherlands

31.053

12.515

Romania

15.978

32.732

Saudi Arabia

3.416

21.168

South Korea

17.081

0.000

Others

15.434

20.453

Total

145.292

137.595

Price

2140.1

2593.3

Polish polyol imports amounted to 145,292 tons in 2023 against 137,595 tons in 2022.  The major sources of imports came from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.  Polyol import prices dropped from €2140.1 per ton to €2593.5 per ton.  The largest source of imports came from Germany 2023, amounting to 31,053 tons against 24,462 tons in 2022.

Exports of polyols from Poland in 2023 amounted to 55,717 tons against 59,177 tons in 2022.  Destinations for deliveries were focused mostly on Europe in 2023, led by Germany taking 5,791 tons followed by Italy taking 5,579 tons.  Due to lower prices this year export revenues dropped from €153.353 million to €123.215 million.

MOL polyol plant start-up

Polish Polyol Exports

 

Jan-Dec 23

Jan-Dec 22

Total volume (ktons)

55.717

59.177

Av € per ton

2212.2

2591.5

Hungarian Polyol Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Belgium

12.833

2.598

China

9.310

10.618

Netherlands

4.475

6.039

Poland

1.588

2.955

Others

1.741

0.944

Total

35.418

30.806

MOL claims that it wants to start the new polyol plant at Tiszaujvaros in the first half of 2024; similar references have been made previously but have not been carried through due to market concerns.  There are suggestions that MOL has been waiting for European markets to revive before starting production.   Start-up would clearly have a negative impact on pricing which remains under pressure from weak market activity. 

MOL's original goal was to complete the polyol plant worth $1.3 billion with a production capacity of 200,000 tpa by the second half of 2021, but due to Covid the plans had to be modified.  By March 2021, the project was 79% complete and thus it took to the end of 2023 to raise that level to 98%. 

Hungarian polyol imports amounted to 35,418 tons in the first eleven months last year against 30,806 tons in the same period in 2022.  Belgium was the largest supplier last year, shipping 12,833 tons, followed by China with 9,310 tons.  Other polyol suppliers to Hungary included the Netherlands, Poland and Romania.

Hungarian maleic anhydride exports Jan-Nov 2023

Hungary exported 18,027 tons of maleic anhydride in the first eleven months last year against 19,016 tons in the same period in 2022, with average prices dropping from €2071.0 per ton to €1164.0 per ton.  Export shipments to Italy and Austria amounted to 2,692 tons and 2,012 tons in the first eleven months this year.  Exports to Poland from Hungary dropped from 4,657 tons in January to November 2022 to 2,647 tons.  Expansion of the maleic anhydride plant at Szazhalombatta represents one of MOL’s current investment priorities.   

Hungarian maleic anhydride exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Austria

2.703

4.023

Germany

1.680

1.107

Italy

2.692

2.535

Poland

2.647

4.657

Slovenia

1.869

1.893

Others

6.436

4.802

Total

18.027

19.016

Av € per ton

1164.0

2071.0

 

Hungarian acrylonitrile imports Jan-Nov 2023

Hungarian imports of acrylonitrile

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Germany

2.472

5.436

France

0.891

10.275

Netherlands

10.266

35.653

Russia

0.000

1.488

Others

3.374

1.960

Total

17.003

54.812

Av € per ton

2077.5

2303.8

Hungary imported 17,003 tons of acrylonitrile in the first eleven months in 2023 which was significantly lower that the 54,812 tons in the same period in 2022.  The Netherlands was the main source of imports in both years, shipping 10,266 tons in January to November 2023 versus 28,584 tons in the same period in 2022.  Acrylonitrile prices dropped on average from €2303.8 per ton in the first eleven months last year to €2077.5 per ton in 2023. 

Hungarian aniline imports Jan-Nov 2023

Hungarian aniline imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Belgium

24.545

14.898

China

11.067

0.120