Lightweighting slows PET resin growth
Strong domestic consumer demand in China, combined with a global cotton shortage, resulted in historically strong global demand growth for polyester fiber in 2010, which continued into early 2011. The cotton shortage, a slowdown in terephthalic acid (PTA) capacity growth, and production outages in PTA and upstream paraxylene (PX), have resulted in a very tight PTA market.
Unlike PTA, global demand for PET packaging resin was subpar in 2010, with less than one million metric tons of growth expected in 2011. The continued light weighting of bottles and other PET packaging, for both economics and an improved environmental footprint, coupled with increased use of recycled material, have been the main culprits behind the poor demand growth.
Supply/ demand outlook
Like PTA, PET packaging resin will see a prolonged period where capacity growth exceeds demand growth and operating rates decline. Unlike PTA, this has been the norm for PET packaging resin. However, since PET packaging resin plants can be built in two years or less, few announcements for new plant construction are made beyond three year periods.