Growth in the Volume of Polyolefins Traded Globally was Arrested in 2021 by Supply Issues; a Rebound in 2022 is Likely as Supply Increases

The trend in global trade volume generally indicates the trend in demand for polymers that are widely traded, but this depends on supply availability. A strong upward trend was evident in global trade in 2019 and 2020 for linear polyethylene, HDPE and PP homopolymer, but not in 2021.

The upward trend in global trade volume in linear PE, HDPE and PP homopolymer from 2018 through 2020 is visible in the graph:

The strongest increases were in 2019 for linear PE, up 15% from 2018, and HDPE, up 11%.

Growth in global trade slowed in 2020 as the pandemic reduced demand, to 8% for linear PE and 3% for HDPE. Reduced supply in 2021 due to weather outages and logistics issues are projected to result in a drop in the volume of polymer traded globally in 2021, by 6% for linear PE and 9% for HDPE.

New sources of supply for polypropylene homopolymer were reflected in small gains in global trade volume in all three years, up 4% in 2019, 5% in 2020, and up 1% projected for 2021.

From International Trader Publications’ World Trade Analyses, continuously updating trade globally and between countries and regions, based on latest statistics from the 100 countries in ITP’s database.