China’s Polyethylene Imports Slow; Polyacetals Imports Set Record

China’s polyethylene imports continued slow through June 2011; polypropylene and PVC imports picked up slightly; polyacetals imports hit new highs; imports of many basic organic chemicals rose, some for the second month in a row; YTD import volumes were generally down moderately versus the first half of 2010.

China’s imports of LDPE, and, especially, LLDPE and HDPE, trended lower in June. LDPE imports of 0.6 million tons through the first half of the year were down 27% from last year’s all-time record high levels, LLDPE volumes were off 5%, to 1.1 M tons, and HDPE imports were off 8%, to 1.6 M tons. Even with the declines this year, polyethylene imports into China continue substantially above historic levels evident over the 2006-2008 period.

After two slow months, polypropylene and uncompounded PVC imports picked up slightly in June. YTD, China imported 1.8 million tons of polypropylene, down 7% (although part of this decline was offset by increased imports of propylene copolymers, 0. 5 million tons, up 5%). Imports of PVC were 0.6 million tons, down 2%.  (China’s PVC exports have been heavy since April, with 0.3 million tons shipped YTD, up 122%).

China’s imports of polyacetals have trended strongly higher over the last few months, hitting a new record high of 21,800 tons in June. ABS, SAN and polycarbonates imports, however, have trended lower each of the last three months. YTD, imports of these engineering polymers were off 1% to 13%.

Imports of MEG, DEG, ethylene, propylene, styrene, EDC and methanol all picked up in June, and MEG, ethylene and methanol also were up in May. YTD, there were large percentage gains on imports of ethylene, 0.5 million tons, up 16%, and methanol, 2.9 million tons, up 21%. Imports of MEG were unchanged at 3.4 million tons.  Imports of DEG and EDC were moderately higher; imports of propylene and styrene, moderately lower.

[important]This information is from ITP’s newsletters on global trade in polymers and chemicals, available by subscription monthly or quarterly.[/important]

Jean J. Sudol
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