After a brief spike in March following the Chinese New Year, imports into China trended downward, a different trend than had been seen over the last three years. Also unusual were exports out of China, which began rising toward the end of 2020 and soared to unprecedented levels in the first half of 2021.
The unusual pattern for China’s imports and exports of commodity polymers is visible below:
The trend in imports mainly reflected reduced volumes of polyethylene, 9.1 million tons through June 2021, down 9% from the same period in the prior year, polypropylene, 2.5 million tons, down 21%; and PVC, 0.3 million tons, down 50%.
Exports of each of these polymer groups, and also PET, posted large percentage gains June YTD: polyethylene, 0.5 million tons, up 62%, Vietnam and Hong Kong heading the list of destinations; polypropylene, 0.9 million tons, up 260%, Vietnam, India and Pakistan top destinations ; PVC, 1.3 million tons, up 247%, top destinations including India, Vietnam and Bangladesh ; and PET, 1.8 million tons, up 26%, Nigeria, Vietnam, Russia and UAE leading destinations.
From International Trader Publications’ China Polymer Trade Report, a monthly analysis of China’s trade in all grades of polyethylene, polypropylene, styrenics, PVC and PET, recyclable polymers, and key fabricated plastic products.