The US is the world’s largest PVC exporter and shipments of uncompounded PVC increased each year from 2009 through 2012. But, in 2013, exports were down from the prior year. The decline in 2013 in US exports of uncompounded PVC was small, down 3%, to 2.9 million tons, but it marked the first decline in several years. Shipments to several leading US export destination were down, including China, Russia and India.
A resurgence in the US construction market in 2013 was likely one factor in the decline in US exports. Another, however, was a major increase in PVC exports from China in 2013. China exported 662,000 tons of uncompounded PVC in 2013, up 68% from 2012. Polymer was shipped to markets all over the world, the top two destinations for China also being leading US export destinations: Russia and India. How much of a factor China’s PVC exports will be in 2014 is hard to predict. Although there has been a general upward trend in exports of PVC from China over the last few years, there is a great deal of variability from year to year, including sudden short bursts of high export activity. China’s exports apparently depend in part on how much PVC is available in excess of domestic demand, with surges in shipments from China usually correlating with declines in imports into China.