US exports of HDPE have trended higher through most of 2018, with volume of 2.1 million tons through October up 21% from the same period in 2017. A record 259,000 tons were shipped in the month of October.
Shipments increased to every region except the Middle East, with the largest percentage gains on exports to Western Europe and Asia Pacific.
Two main factors – the startup of new capacity plus tariffs on exports to China – have resulted in large regional shifts in US exports of linear PE. Exports have increased to all regions but especially to Western and Eastern Europe, and combined shipments to those regions now exceed those to Asia-Pacific.
Based on latest available statistics, ITP projects a volume of 3.2 million tons of recycle polyethylene traded globally in 2018. This is a decline of 31%, or 1.4 million tons, from 2017. Exports out of Western Europe and North America were particularly impacted, although shipments from all regions were down.
A 14% increase in global LNG trade in 2018, to 318 million tons of imports and exports, is forecast by ITP based on the latest available statistics. This follows an 8% increase in global trade in 2017 versus 2016.