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Watch: Europe 2018 petrochemical outlook: competitiveness, trade flows and new challenges

With new crackers set to come online in the US in 2018, cracker margins and remaining competitive will be at the forefront of European producers' minds during the year.

Meanwhile, supply dynamics are set to be a determining factor for both styrene and methanol in 2018.

While styrene is set for price increases as supply tightness looms on the horizon, methanol faces the prospect of a possible supply glut amid anticipated new capacity start-ups in the US and Iran.

In the opening weeks of 2018, one highlight has been the numerous new initiatives for reducing the use of plastic and increasing plastic recycling in Europe. However, ongoing questions around the impact of China's ban on waste products continue to haunt the market.

From new US capacities to Chinese regulations, the opportunities and challenges on the horizon for Europe's petrochemicals markets are discussed by S&P Global Platts global content director, petrochemicals Simon Thorne, associate editor Sam Hashmi and associate editor Luke Milner.