China’s Imports of Polyethylene from the Middle East Continue to climb – Except for EVA

Imports of All Polymers of Ethylene (APOE) into Asia Pacific from the Middle East were up 9% through September 2019, to 10.5 million tons.

Asia Pacific is by far the largest recipient of Middle Eastern polyethylene by volume, with the next greatest volumes going to Western Europe (964k tons) and Eastern Europe (782k tons) – both down compared to the same period last year (-8%, -5% respectively).

The bulk of the 10.5 million tons was high density polyethylene, accounting for 5 million tons, up 13% versus the same period last year. China was the most significant recipient of HDPE from the Middle East (3.7 million tons through September), with quantities of over 1 million tons each from Saudi Arabia and Iran (each up almost 30% vs. last year), and 681k tons from the UAE. China’s imports of HDPE are up 16% globally.

LDPE/LLDPE also made up a significant fraction of the Middle East’s exports of polyethylene to Asia Pacific (3.1 million tons, over 2 million tons of which were low density polyethylene). Again, China was the largest recipient (1.3 million tons), mainly from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, each up double-digit percentages vs. the previous YTD period. Global imports of LDPE/LLDPE into China are up 16% versus last year.

The Middle East also exported 2.2 million tons of Ethylene Copolymers into Asia Pacific through September 2019, up 13% from last year. Of this, 1.9 million tons was comprised of Ethylene-Alpha-Olefins Copolymers. As above, China was the top recipient of ECO, accounting for 1.6 million tons, mainly from Saudi Arabia (1 million tons, up 25%).

Exports from Saudi Arabia to China also account for the majority of Middle East / APAC trade in EVA, the smallest of the polyethylene subgroups (98k tons through September). Compared to the other subgroups, China’s imports of EVA have remained relatively stable over the last years.

Written by Christiana Fierro. Data from International Trader Publications World Trade Reports on All Polymers of Ethylene, HDPE, LDPE/LLDPE, Ethylene Copolymers and EVA.

World Trade Reports are continuously updated analyses of global trade based on statistics from 100 countries.