China’s Commodity Polymer Imports Were Down 17% Through September, 2021; Exports Were Up 77%

China’s imports of all the major commodity polymer groups – PE, PP, PS, PVC, PET – continued depressed from last year’s levels; smaller volume exports, especially of PP, PVC and PET posted strong gains.

Through September, China imported 21 million tons of commodity polymers, down 17% from the same period in 2020. Volume picked up slightly in August and September but remained far below last year’s level. Exports of commodity polymers, which surged in the second quarter and then slowed and steadied, totaled 6.4 million tons, up 77%.

The steepest declines were on imports of HDPE, 5.1 million tons, down 26%, polypropylene homopolymer, 2.4 million tons, down 28%, propylene copolymers, 1.2 million tons, down 22%, and PVC. 371,000 tons, down 59%.

China exported higher volumes of every grade of every commodity polymer with the exception of expandable polystyrene. The largest volume exports were polypropylene homopolymer, 1.0 million tons, up 251% through September and PVC, 1.4 million tons, up 276%. Also up strongly were exports of bottle grade PET, 2.6 million tons, up 30%.

From International Trader Publications’ China Polymer Trade Report, a monthly analysis of China’s imports and exports of all commodity polymers, recyclable polymers and key fabricated plastic products.