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Report for Spain

In recent months, there has been an upward trend in the price of thermoplastics because of the increased costs of raw materials and a decline in imports owing to the attacks on shipping in the Red Sea. Imports from Asia have been diverted through the Horn of Africa, thus leading to delays and more limited demand. Owing to price increases, customers are preferring to limit material purchases in line with their immediate production needs. This has been the case for HDPE, PP, PVC, PS and PET.

For PVC, there has been a small rebound in demand thanks to the seasonal increase in the construction sector, although the upturn is expected to be temporary. As for PS, the price has sky-rocketed and demand has decreased as a consequence.

The price of recycled PET has reached unprecedented levels. Demand has exceeded supply in both Europe and the USA, largely as a result of new regulations requiring the incorporation of a percentage of recycled plastic in the manufacture of packaging. Production capacity is limited and there is a need to make investments, but this represents a major challenge at a time when the recycled PET market continues to outperform its virgin counterpart. For this reason, many packagers are opting for virgin PET while others are choosing to place smaller orders that respond only to immediate levels of demand.

“The Circular Economy for Plastics” report from Plastics Europe warns that Europe is suffering a loss of competitiveness in the production of plastic raw materials compared to China and the USA, with its share of global production falling from 22% in 2006 to 14% in 2022. Europe is expected to become increasingly dependent on imports.

On the other hand, a drop in demand is anticipated following European Parliament approval on April 24 of a new regulation on packaging and waste whose main objectives are to reduce the use of plastics and promote recycling. The goal is a 5% reduction in all types of packaging in the EU by 2030 and a 15% cut by 2040. The obligation falls on the producer to minimize the weight and the volume of packaging, regardless of the material used.