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LDPE
LDPE Prices | Current and Forecast
LDPE
LDPE
LDPE
(C2H4)n

About LDPE. LDPE (a.k.a. Low Density Polyethylene), the first thermoplastic polyolefin used commercially, is one of the three main types of polyethylene. LDPE differs from high density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) primarily due to its unique molecular structure, where large amounts of long-chain branching, impart different rheological behavior in both shear and extension. LDPE offers an unparalleled combination of low cost, ease of fabrication and balance of physical properties (toughness, flexibility and transparency). The first thermoplastic polyolefin used commercially, LDPE is still widely used in a wide range of applications.

LDPE is a polymer of ethylene manufactured on commercial scale exclusively via free-radical-initiated, high-pressure polymerization processes. The main technologies suitable for LDPE production use autoclave or tubular reactors. It may be produced as homopolymer (LDPE itself) or as copolymer, being the most common copolymers ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), ethylene methyl acrylate (EMA), ethylene ethyl acrylate (EEA), Ethylene Acrylic Acid (EAA), produced respectively from vinyl acetate, methyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, and acrylic acid comonomers.

Although it offers unique properties for some applications, LDPE has been losing ground to other ethylene polymers, especially HDPE and LLDPE. It can also find other substitutes, such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), biodegradable polymers, and bio-based polymers.

LDPE Handling. The majority of LDPE is sold as small pellets. Most of the LDPE used in North America is shipped in 82-ton rail cars. Other common forms of shipment are 18-ton bulk trucks, 500-kg boxes, and 25-kg bags. In other parts of the world, the most common mode of shipment is in 25-kg bags.

LDPE Production. LDPE production consists of the polymerization of ethylene, in such a way that different LDPE manufacturing routes are related to different sources of such raw material - ethylene can be manufactured, for instance, via pyrolysis of hydrocarbons, recovery from refinery products, ethanol dehydration or methanol-to-olefins plants. Raw materials and the respective production processes employed in the manufacturing of LDPE are listed below.

  • Ethylene (high-pressure tubular polymerization),
  • Ethylene (high-pressure autoclave polymerization)

LDPE Uses. Generically, it is possible to establish commercial grades based on LDPE applications: film and sheet, extrusion coating, injection molding, wire and cable, and blow molding. The film and sheet industry represents the largest application sector for low-density polyethylene, constituting approximately 50% of North American demand. Resins used for films typically have melt indices ranging from 0.2 to 6 and densities from 0.917 to 0.930. Typically, the extrusion coating process employs resins with melt indices between 4 and 10 and densities from 0.920 to 0.930, particularly those produced in autoclave reactors, with the essential combination of neck-in and drawdown. One of the resin specifications commonly used in extrusion coating is the general-purpose grade. The injection molding grade is obtained by injecting molten LDPE into a metal mold at high temperature and pressure. The resulting solid article, taking the mold's shape, is then cooled and extracted.

Although linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and blends of LDPE and LLDPE have gained wide prominence in the film market because of their superior physical properties, LDPE remains preferred in specific film applications requiring characteristics like easy extrusion, clarity, and low taste and odor. This sector includes packaging applications like pallet wrapping, heavy-duty sacks, food packaging, and non-packaging uses such as refuse bags, storage bags, agricultural film, and industrial sheeting. LLDPE has significantly entered the injection molding market (e.g., lids, buckets, toys, and freezer containers) because of its higher melt index, which contributes to increased production speed and cost reduction. Nevertheless, LDPE is still chosen for applications where clarity is necessary, especially in products like caps and closures. On the other hand, the resulting structure of extrusion coating processes is used in various food packaging applications such as snack food packaging, juice boxes, and milk containers. LLDPE remains restricted in this market.

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Data Type: chem-pricing
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LDPE Prices | Current and Forecast

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Monitor monthly LDPE price assessments covering 6 locations: United States, Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, China and Middle East. Also check LDPE price history since 2007 and forecasts.

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LDPE

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Data Legend. The chart above shows LDPE price assessments in USA Dollar per metric ton (USD/mt) in 6 locations, as follows:

  • LDPE (Film), US (United States): LDPE (film grade), domestic contract price, dpu, United States
  • LDPE (Injection), US (United States): LDPE (injection molding grade), export contract price, fob, United States
  • LDPE (Film), EUR (Europe): LDPE (film grade), domestic contract price, ddp, Northwest Europe
  • LDPE (GP), EUR (Europe): LDPE (general-purpose grade), domestic spot price, ddp, Northwest Europe
  • LDPE (Recycled), EUR (Europe): LDPE (recycled film grade), domestic spot price, ddp, Northwest Europe
  • LDPE (Film), SAM (South America): LDPE (film grade), import contract price, cfr, Brazil (netforward from fob United States)
  • LDPE (Film), SEA (Southeast Asia): LDPE (film grade), import spot price, cif, India (netforward from fob Saudi Arabia)
  • LDPE (Film), CN (China): LDPE (film grade), domestic spot price, exw, China
  • LDPE (Film), MDE (Middle East): LDPE (film grade), export spot price, fob, Saudi Arabia (netback from cif China)

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LDPE Price Outlook. The price of LDPE (Film, United States) increased during April 2019 to 1,070 USD per metric ton, which represents a slight rise of 3% compared to the previous month’s value. On a year-over-year basis, the prices of LDPE (Film, United States) decreased significantly by 27%. Meanwhile, the average price of LDPE (Injection, United States) amounted to 1,100 USD per metric ton, from 1,380 USD per metric ton one year earlier. On a month-over-month basis, the price of LDPE (Injection, United States) is 0.9% higher than the price one month before.

The price of LDPE (Film, China) declined slightly throughout April 2019, reaching 1,330 USD per metric ton.  The price is 0.7% lower than the average price in the previous month and 15% lower than the average price one year before. In contrast, the prices of LDPE (Southeast Asia) decreased modestly during April 2019, reaching 1,140 USD per metric ton, which means a decline of 3% from the previous month’s price and a decline of 18% from the previous year’s price. 

The prices of LDPE (Film, Middle East) experienced a modest rise of 40 USD per metric ton from the prior month's price, to 1,130 USD per metric ton. Such price movement meant a rise of 4% on a monthly basis and a decrease of 12% on a yearly basis. On the other hand, in April 2019, the price of LDPE (Film, Europe) witnessed a rise of 40 USD per metric ton when compared against the previous month's price, to 1,200 USD per metric ton. The April 2019 price is 15% lower than the price one year before. 

The average price of LDPE (GP, Europe) was 1,200 USD per metric ton on April 2019 – a little increase of 40 USD per metric ton, or 3%, compared with the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, the price of LDPE (GP, Europe) is 15% lower than the price one year before.

About LDPE. LDPE (a.k.a. Low Density Polyethylene), the first thermoplastic polyolefin used commercially, is one of the three main types of polyethylene. LDPE differs from high density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) primarily due to its unique molecular structure, where large amounts of long-chain branching, impart different rheological behavior in both shear and extension. LDPE offers an unparalleled combination of low cost, ease of fabrication and balance of physical properties (toughness, flexibility and transparency). The first thermoplastic polyolefin used commercially, LDPE is still widely used in a wide range of applications.

LDPE is a polymer of ethylene manufactured on commercial scale exclusively via free-radical-initiated, high-pressure polymerization processes. The main technologies suitable for LDPE production use autoclave or tubular reactors. It may be produced as homopolymer (LDPE itself) or as copolymer, being the most common copolymers ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), ethylene methyl acrylate (EMA), ethylene ethyl acrylate (EEA), Ethylene Acrylic Acid (EAA), produced respectively from vinyl acetate, methyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, and acrylic acid comonomers.

Although it offers unique properties for some applications, LDPE has been losing ground to other ethylene polymers, especially HDPE and LLDPE. It can also find other substitutes, such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), biodegradable polymers, and bio-based polymers.

LDPE Handling. The majority of LDPE is sold as small pellets. Most of the LDPE used in North America is shipped in 82-ton rail cars. Other common forms of shipment are 18-ton bulk trucks, 500-kg boxes, and 25-kg bags. In other parts of the world, the most common mode of shipment is in 25-kg bags.

LDPE Production. LDPE production consists of the polymerization of ethylene, in such a way that different LDPE manufacturing routes are related to different sources of such raw material - ethylene can be manufactured, for instance, via pyrolysis of hydrocarbons, recovery from refinery products, ethanol dehydration or methanol-to-olefins plants. Raw materials and the respective production processes employed in the manufacturing of LDPE are listed below.

  • Ethylene (high-pressure tubular polymerization),
  • Ethylene (high-pressure autoclave polymerization)

LDPE Uses. Generically, it is possible to establish commercial grades based on LDPE applications: film and sheet, extrusion coating, injection molding, wire and cable, and blow molding. The film and sheet industry represents the largest application sector for low-density polyethylene, constituting approximately 50% of North American demand. Resins used for films typically have melt indices ranging from 0.2 to 6 and densities from 0.917 to 0.930. Typically, the extrusion coating process employs resins with melt indices between 4 and 10 and densities from 0.920 to 0.930, particularly those produced in autoclave reactors, with the essential combination of neck-in and drawdown. One of the resin specifications commonly used in extrusion coating is the general-purpose grade. The injection molding grade is obtained by injecting molten LDPE into a metal mold at high temperature and pressure. The resulting solid article, taking the mold's shape, is then cooled and extracted.

Although linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and blends of LDPE and LLDPE have gained wide prominence in the film market because of their superior physical properties, LDPE remains preferred in specific film applications requiring characteristics like easy extrusion, clarity, and low taste and odor. This sector includes packaging applications like pallet wrapping, heavy-duty sacks, food packaging, and non-packaging uses such as refuse bags, storage bags, agricultural film, and industrial sheeting. LLDPE has significantly entered the injection molding market (e.g., lids, buckets, toys, and freezer containers) because of its higher melt index, which contributes to increased production speed and cost reduction. Nevertheless, LDPE is still chosen for applications where clarity is necessary, especially in products like caps and closures. On the other hand, the resulting structure of extrusion coating processes is used in various food packaging applications such as snack food packaging, juice boxes, and milk containers. LLDPE remains restricted in this market.

Intratec Methodology. Intratec Primary Commodity Prices are produced from a data-driven, mathematical approach, which starts with the extraction of data from various primary sources, including official trade records, statistics bureaus, governmental and international agencies. Such large volume of data is validated through advanced data processing techniques, and treated by means of statistical analysis for outliers removal. When faced with input gaps, data scientists and engineers employ mathematical models or machine learning techniques to estimate prices and ensure the completeness of the price assessments presented. (learn more ).

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