Brazil’s Polymer Trade Sets Multiple Records in 4Qtr 2020

Imports of polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC and PET all hit new highs during the fourth quarter of 2020, as did imports of film and sheet made from PP, PVC and PET, and even imports of recyclable PVC and PET polymer. Exports during the period, particularly of polyethylene and polypropylene, were at their lowest levels in over five years.

It was a remarkable fourth quarter. As demand rebounded from a slump earlier in the year as the pandemic hit, Brazil’s exports of commodity polymers fell to about 90,000 tons a month from October to November, down from a peak in June of roughly 170,000 tons. Most of the decline was due to lower exports of polyethylene and polypropylene, which were, in December, 40,000 tons and 23,000 tons, respectively.

Imports into Brazil surged from September through November and remained high in December at 260,000 tons, all the commodity polymers hitting new highs during the last quarter except polystyrene. Polyethylene imports accounted for 126,000 tons of the December total; polypropylene, 51,000 tons; polystyrene, 16,000 tons; PVC, 54,000 tons; and, PET, 13,000 tons.

As demand for packaging and medical applications rose, Brazil imported record volumes of fabricated plastic products. Imports of film and sheet made from polypropylene, PVC and PET skyrocketed.

From International Trader Publication’s Brazil Polymer Trade Report, a monthly analysis of Brazil’s trade in all polymers of ethylene, propylene, styrene, VCM and PET, recycle polymers and numerous fabricated plastic products.