German PET recyclers cautiously optimistic heading into 2024

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German PET recyclers say business was mostly quiet in December, which had fewer working days due to the year-end public holidays, and because some businesses had chosen to shut down earlier than usual for the festive period. Looking back, 2023 presented the industry with major challenges, and prices were under enormous pressure due to weak demand. This was caused by economic stagnation across Europe, competition from primary PET as prices fell, and cheaper imports of Asian material. 

Players are hoping for a recovery in demand in 2024. Most of those surveyed by EUWID also hope there will be no sudden price spikes for recyclate and bottles. Demand in December was usually decent and some customers had ordered slightly more for January to top up their inventories, according to market participants. There was an acceptable level of interest in flakes, owing to the price gap to primary PET, and there had been an uptick in inquiries from the fibre and packaging strapping industries. Sales of food-grade recycled PET (rPET) on the spot market remain sluggish because primary PET is still less expensive, EUWID was told.  

The market outlook for 2024 is clouded by uncertainty. In the wake of the attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea, many buyers expect European prices to rise in January as a result of tighter supply, additional charges and increased freight rates. Even if the security of shipping lanes can be restored quickly, the impact of recent events will likely be felt for weeks and even months. The EU’s introduction of provisional anti-dumping duties on PET imports from China has not yet had any noticeable effect on the market.

Read the full monthly market report on post-consumer single-use PET bottles and acess the price change table and graphing tools here:

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