China’s PE Imports Reach a New High in March; Exports of Fabricated Plastic Products Dampened

China’s imports of ethylene polymers slowed only slightly for the New Year holiday in February and then shot to a new record in March 2019. Exports of fabricated plastic products, however, fell sharply in February, with only a partial rebound in March.

China imported 4.6 million tons of ethylene polymers in the first quarter of 2019, up 18% from the same period in the prior year. Imports in March were a new high of 1.7 million tons:

Although ethylene polymer imports from North America were down by 27%, to 193,000 tons, reflecting the on-going US-China trade war, this decline was more than offset by much higher volumes from Asia-Pacific sources and increased volumes also from the Middle East.

The trade war with the US impacted China’s exports of fabricated plastic products, as the US is the leading market for many of these products. (US import statistics show a similar decline.) A steep drop in China’s exports in February due to the New Year holiday was followed by a weaker recovery in March than in prior years:

From International Trader Publications China Polymer Trade Report, a monthly update with the latest statistics on China’s imports/exports of commodity polymers, recycle polymers and fabricated plastic products.