Overview of Korea’s Commodity Polymer Trade July 2018 YTD

Korea’s exports of commodity polymers expanded moderately in the first seven months of 2018, as did shipments of fabricated plastic products. Imports rose sharply. Korea exported less recycle polymers but imported more.

Through July 2018 South Korea exported 5.9 million tons of commodity polymers, up 6% from the same period in the prior year. Most of the volume and growth was in exports of ethylene polymers, 1.8 million tons, up 7%, propylene polymers, also 1.8 million tons, up 6%, and styrenic polymers, 1.3 million tons, up 7%. Although there was sizable trade with every world region, roughly 60% – 70% of Korea’s exports were within Asia-Pacific.

Imports of commodity polymers totaled 540,000 tons, up 20% mainly on higher volumes of polyethylene from the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, and PET from Asia-Pacific.

Korea’s exports of key fabricated plastic products were at record levels for most of the period and totaled 515,000 tons, up 8%. This consisted mainly of PET, PE and PP film and sheet, plus PVC floor and wall coverings.

Trade in recycle polymers was small: exports of 59,000 tons were down 50% through July; imports of 76,000 tons, mainly R-PET, jumped 134%, to 76,000 tons.

From International Trader Publications’ “Korea Polymer Trade Report”.