Trends in Recyclable Polypropylene Trade, and Proposed Changes to the Harmonized System (HS)

The volume of recyclable polypropylene that can be identified as traded globally was 862,000 tons in 2023, up 25% from 2022. Western Europe accounted for more than half of the total, based on available statistics.

Global trade volume is currently understated because statistics specifically for recyclable PP are available only for 52 countries. Other countries combine recyclable PP with recyclable PET and other polymers, excluding recyclable PE, styrenics and PVC, that are identified separately. If interested, this can potentially be changed by an appeal to the World Customs Organization.

Continue reading

Advanced Look at Western Europe’s HDPE Polymer Imports

Although Eurostat statistics for polymers and other products are published three months after the trade month, an earlier view of import demand and the impact of shipping disruptions in the Red Sea can be obtained from trading partner export statistics.

Continue reading

China’s Exports of All the Commodity Polymers Set New Records in March 2024

The simultaneous jump to new highs in March of China’s exports of polyethylene, polypropylene, styrenic polymers, PVC and PET was unprecedented. A rebound in polymer shipments after the holiday in February was expected and evident historically but new polymer capacity was also indicated, particularly in polypropylene.

Continue reading

Trends in Polyolefin Polymer Trade in Western Europe in 2023

Polyolefin polymer demand in Western Europe in 2023 is measurable in part from the region’s intra-regional trade, its imports from other regions, and its exports to other regions. Lower intra-regional trade and lower imports indicate a drop in demand from one year to the next. These were evident in 2023 versus 2022 for LDPE, linear PE, HDPE, and PP homopolymer. Lower polymer demand in a region is also usually associated with an increase in a region’s exports, if conditions make this possible. Western Europe’s exports of HDPE did increase in 2023, but shipments of other polymers were constrained by low demand in other regions and surging exports from North America.

Continue reading

Trends in Recyclable Polyethylene in 2023

Global trade volume in recyclable polyethylene polymer in 2023 dropped 2% from 2022, to 3.0 million tons, indicating weaker global demand. Key trends included lower intra-regional trade in Western Europe and Asia-Pacific, lower imports into Western Europe and a surge in imports into Asia-Pacific on material sourced mainly from Western Europe and North America. Average prices steadied in the second half of 2023 at low levels.

Continue reading

Trends in China’s Polyolefin Polymer Trade Through February 2924

Polyethylene polymer import and export volumes were higher versus February YTD 2023, but at depressed prices. Imports of polypropylene were down sharply; low-priced export volumes climbed.

Continue reading

The Rise and Fall of Global Paraxylene Trade

New para-xylene capacity in China and also in the Middle East and the rationalization of uncompetitive production in the US and Western Europe have massively changed global trade flows.

Continue reading

Trends in China’s Trade in Commodity Polymers in 2023

China’s imports of commodity polymers as a total of all grades of PE, PP, styrenics, PVC and PET, declined for the third year in a row, a loss of nearly 10 million tons of volume over the 2020-2023 period. Exports of the combined total climbed for the third year in a row, increasing by nearly 7 million tons. Shipments of manufactured products identifiable as plastic showed a small gain of 0.7 million tons in 2023, rising to 16.7 million tons.

Continue reading

Trends in Global Trade in Polypropylene and Propylene Copolymers in 2023

The volume traded globally of both polymers fell for the second year in a row, primarily on trends in Western Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Continue reading

Acrylonitrile Global Trade Trends

For most of the last ten years the volume of acrylonitrile (ACN) traded globally has trended downward. The exception was the period 2018 to 2021 when trade volume initially increased, then steadied, paralleling the trend in global trade in ABS polymer, its largest end use. There have been major shifts in ACN trade between regions over the period.

Continue reading