The volume of ethylene monomer traded as imports and exports in 2016 was 7.1 million tons, up 4% from 2015. Much higher imports into Asia-Pacific from sources outside the region, and also into Western Europe, were key factors on the demand side. (Based on latest available trade statistics.)
Asia-Pacific imports tripled, to nearly 1 million tons, on greatly increased supplies from Western Europe, Middle East, North America and Latin America. China’s ethylene imports soared to new records in November and December 2016, volume from all sources totaling 1.7 million tons for the year, up 9%. (Record imports into China continued into January 2017 – see graph). Other Asia-Pacific markets with higher imports included Singapore, Japan and Taiwan.
Imports into Western Europe more than doubled, to 300,000 tons, mainly on monomer from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. This was the second year in a row during which the region’s imports roughly doubled.
Global trade trends for ethylene vary markedly from year to year. Trade volume in 2015 also was up from the prior year but this was largely on greatly expanded intra-regional trade in Western Europe and Asia-Pacific, noting also higher imports into Western Europe. Imports into Asia-Pacific were down by 43% from 2014, which sharply depressed exports from the Middle East and Western Europe to that region.
From International Trader Publications’: Ethylene World Trade Report