Demand Slows for Polyacetals, Polycarbonates and PET in 2011

Lower demand in 2011 was apparent from reduced global trade in polyacetals, polycarbonates and PET, volumes down 1%-5%. 

Polyacetals global trade was down 1% in 2011, from a 39% jump in the prior year. Reduced intra-regional trade in Western Europe, down 8%, and Asia-Pacific, down 4%, were key negative factors. These were partly offset by much higher imports into Western Europe from Asia-Pacific and North America and into Eastern Europe from Asia-Pacific, and, slightly higher imports into Asia-Pacific from both North America and Western Europe.

Polycarbonates global trade volume was down 5% in 2011, versus a 14% increase in 2010. Asia-Pacific intra-regional trade contracted by 8% in 2011 and imports into the region rose only 1%, a steep drop from the 26% gain in the prior year. The region’s imports from North America rose 13% but supplies from Western Europe were down 19%. Also of note were nearly 60,000 tons imported from the Middle East, up 345%. Eastern Europe continued as a growth market, imports up 14%; Latin America’s imports fell 18%. Exports from Western Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific each fell by 4%-8%.

PET global trade in 2011 was down 1%, from a 6% gain in the prior year. Weak demand in Western Europe was apparent from the 1% drop in the region’s intra-regional trade and the 15% drop in imports. Imports into Eastern Europe, the world’s largest market, rose only 1%, to 1.1 million tons. Imports into Africa, North America and Latin America increased 8%-11%. Exports from Asia-Pacific, the world’s largest exporting region, grew 1% but shipments from other exporting regions declined, with the exception of Latin America which was up 26%.

These are a few of the trends in ITP’s World Trade Annual Reviews of 2011 for polyacetals, polycarbonates and PET. 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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Jean J. Sudol
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