During the worst month of the pandemic, the United States sharply increased imports of film and sheet made from polyethylene, polypropylene and PET, volumes of each in April at or near record levels. These polymers, among others, are used for personal protective equipment.
Imports of polyethylene film/sheet hit a new high of 46,000 tons in April, the YTD total of 169,000 tons up 12% from the same period last year. Canada was the top supplier providing 94,000 tons of the YTD total, up 8%, followed by China with 13,000 tons, down 3%, Mexico with 10,000 tons, up 16%, and numerous smaller volume sources.
Imports of film and sheet made from polypropylene also trended higher in March and April, to near-record levels, and totaled 87,000 tons YTD, up 7%. Mexico, Canada and Oman were the top three suppliers.
Although US imports of film and sheet made from PET rebounded strongly in March from a low in February, and reached record levels in April, the total of 115,000 tons YTD was down 12%. Top suppliers were Oman, Mexico and Canada.
From International Trader Publications’ United States Polymer Trade Report, a monthly analysis of US trade in all polymers of ethylene, propylene, styrene, VCM and PET, recycle polymers and fabricated plastic products.