More Ethylene, Benzene and Methanol Traded in 2011; Less Propylene

World trade volume was up 3%-9% for ethylene, benzene and methanol; down 3% for propylene.
Ethylene monomer global trade volume increased 4% in 2011, to 6 million tons. A 5% increase was evident in 2010. Key trade flows: lower intra-regional trade in Western Europe and Asia-Pacific; much higher imports into Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe; a small decline on imports into Western Europe; a 52% increase in exports out of the Middle East, to 1.2 million tons; much higher exports also out of North America, up 89%.

Propylene monomer global trade contracted by 3% in 2011, to 6.3 million tons, down from a 13% increase in the prior year. Key trade flows: lower intra-regional trade in Western Europe; a 12% expansion in intra-regional trade in Asia-Pacific noting higher imports into China and Taiwan and exports from South Korea and Thailand; lower imports into Western and Eastern Europe; a 27% increase in imports into Latin America; and, a 41% increase in imports into Asia-Pacific, most of which were supplied by the Middle East.

Benzene global trade was up 3% in 2011, to 6.8 million tons. This compared with a 2% decline in 2010. Key trade flows: Asia-Pacific exports up 28% on much higher volumes to North America and Western Europe and a minor decline to the Middle East; exports from Western Europe up 76%, mainly on shipments to North America, followed by Africa; exports from the Middle East and Latin America each down roughly 40%.

Methanol global trade was up 9% in 2011, to 29.4 million tons, following a 5% increase in 2010. Key trade flows: imports into both Asia-Pacific and North America up 2%; imports into Western Europe up 30%; exports from the Middle East unchanged at 10.8 million tons; exports from Africa up 69%, to 1.8 million tons; 7% higher shipments from Latin America, to 7.1 million tons.

These are a few of the trends in ITP’s World Trade Annual Reviews of 2011 for ethylene, propylene, benzene and methanol. The Reviews are detailed analyses of trade between countries and regions, based on import/export statistics from 60 countries, representing nearly all of the world’s trade volume. ITP measures trade volume as the sum of imports into all countries, which equals exports from all countries, as each import has a corresponding export. As the volume of product traded globally is a direct measure of a significant part of apparent demand for the widely traded products in the Reviews, percentage changes in trade volume from year to year generally reflect actual changes in demand.

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