Korea Exported Record Volumes of PE in March 2020 and Imported High Volumes of Fabricated Plastic Products, Trade with China a Key Factor

Shipments to China accounted for most of the surge in Korea’s exports; China was the source of most of Korea’s imports of fabricated plastic products.

Korea exported its highest monthly volume ever of ethylene polymers, 315,000 tons, in March 2020. Exports of HDPE and ethylene-alpha-olefin copolymers soared. Korea’s first quarter PE exports totaled 867,000 tons, up 8% from the same period in 2019.

More than half of Korea’s PE exports went to China, 454,000 tons YTD, up 8%. Shipments to China had fallen for two months, from 193,000 tons in December down to 115,000 tons in February, before rebounding to 175,000 tons in March.

Korea’s imports of PE and PP film and sheet, PE and PP bags and sacks, and, PVC floor and wall coverings also surged in March. China supplied large volumes, indicating recovery in its manufacturing and exporting after Covid-19 related slowdowns in January and February.

From International Trader Publications’ Korea Polymer Trade Report, a monthly analysis of Korea’s trade in all commodity and recycle polymers, and key fabricated plastic products.