Key Aspects of China’s Polymer Trade

China imported 18.1 million tons of virgin commodity polymers in 2011, down 2%; exported 2.7 million tons of virgin commodity polymers, up 38%; imported 8.4 million tons of scrap commodity polymers, up 5%; and, exported 6.2 million tons of specific fabricated polymer products, up 8%.

The four inter-related aspects of China’s trade, virgin polymer imports, virgin polymer exports, scrap polymer imports and fabricated polymer product exports, are analyzed in the first issue of a new monthly publication, The China Polymer Trade Report, which has just been published. The Report focuses on polymers of ethylene, propylene, styrene, VCM and PET.

Some of the trends identified in the January, 2012, first issue, covering China’s trade for full year 2011 are:

  1. Following the 60% jump in polyolefin virgin polymer imports from 2008 to 2009, import volumes continued at the new levels in 2010 and 2011.   China’s imports of ethylene polymers totaled 8 million tons each year from 2009 through 2011; imports of propylene polymers were 5 million tons each year.
  2. China exported unusually high volumes of virgin commodity polymers, mainly polyolefins, vinyl polymers and PET, from March through July of 2011. The last half of the year saw volumes return to typical levels.
  3. China is the world’s largest importer of scrap and waste polymer, and import volumes have been increasing each year since at least 2006. Imports of scrap and waste of commodity polymers were 8.4 million tons in 2011, nearly two-thirds of which was polyolefins.
  4. China exported record high volumes of specific fabricated polymer products in both 2010 and 2011, volume in 2011 reaching 6.2 million tons. Despite economic slowdowns in North America and Western Europe, China’s exports of these products to both markets generally showed small, if any, declines, which were more than offset by higher shipments to other regions and within Asia-Pacific.

[important]Succeeding issues of The China Polymer Trade Report will be published on line directly after China’s statistics are issued, less than four weeks after the reporting month, thus providing the most current information possible on these important trade flows.[/important]

Jean J. Sudol
International Trader Publications, Inc.
P.O. Box 687
Tarrytown, NY 10591
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Tel: +1 914-631-6856
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