PET recyclers in Germany encountered livelier demand and rising prices for bottles and flakes in January. Insiders expect this trend to continue in February, too. At the same time, a few market players are sceptical that the market will stage a lasting recovery.
Most PET recyclers reported satisfactory order books in January, with orders being placed by both film and bottle producers. The crisis in the Red Sea, which had severely limited imports of cheap virgin PET from Asia, was one major reason for the stronger demand. Sea freight rates had skyrocketed as a result of the shipping disruptions. Transit times had also become longer and there were delays due to problems with the provision of shipping containers in Asia.
Additional delays associated with the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities in mid-February had also trimmed exports from Asia, leading European converters to instead stock their warehouses with flakes and with primary PET made in Europe before the season began.
The favourable situation faced by recyclers might dissipate, though. After all, exports from Asia were being offered again for March, and European PET producers were also set to restart their idled lines. What’s more, underlying economic data in Europe, with weaker consumer demand and a slower economy, was causing uncertainty.
Bearing this in mind, merchants and recyclers are warning against raising prices too quickly, which could cause the PET recycling market to overheat as it did in 2022. Rapid and sharp price rises would be unhealthy and could jeopardise the incipient recovery, sources feared.
Read the full market report on single-use post-consumer PET bottles from deposit systems in Germany and access price tables and graphing tools here: