PET and PTA Trends in Global Trade in 2023

The volume of global trade in both products is projected to be lower in 2023 than in 2022, with profound shifts in flows between regions.

The amount of global trade in 2023 visible from the statistics of all available reporting countries is projected to be 10.3 million tons for bottle grade PET, down 5% from 2022, and for terephthalic acid, a major raw material for PET, 9.2 million tons, down 7%.

From 2019 through 2021 trends in global volume were similar for both products, with a decline in 2020 and a rebound in 2021. Volume continued to rise for both products in 2022 and slowed in 2023, but with the spread between the products widening because of interrelated trends.

On November 28, 2023, the European Commission imposed temporary anti-dumping duties ranging from 6.6% to 24.2% specifically on imports of bottle grade PET from China, to be in effect initially for six months, pending review and possible imposition of permanent measures.

Although Asia-Pacific was Western Europe’s largest source for PET-B, supplying 479,800 tons through October 2023, this was down by 2% from the previous October YTD. There were sizable increase on imports into Western Europe from Eastern Europe, mainly from EU members Poland and Lithuania and non-EU Turkey, and Africa, mainly Egypt..

Of the 479,800 tons imported into Western Europe from Asia-Pacific, 167,000 tons were from China, a moderately smaller amount, 156,000 tons, was from Vietnam, 65,000 tons came from Korea and the remainder from other sources in the region.

China reported exports of bottle grade PET to all destinations worldwide of 3.7 million tons through October 2023, up 3% from the same period in 2022. Russia, India, UAE, Philippines and Indonesia were the top five destinations, among many others.

The influx of PET imports led to the closure of substantial PTA capacity in Western Europe in 2023, which was apparent in the sharp decline in trade within the region itself and also in exports to other regions.

Asia-Pacific supplied 300,000 tons of Western Europe’s imports of PTA, up 42%. Most of the remainder was from Eastern Europe, 190,000 tons, down 35%, and Latin America, 105,000 tons, down 2%.

Asia-Pacific PTA exports all destinations worldwide totaled 3.4 million tons through October, up 13% on higher volumes to all regions except the Middle East. There were particularly large percentage gains on shipments to Eastern Europe, North America and Latin America.

From International Trader Publications World Trade Analyses on PET (bottle grade, film/fiber grade and combined) and PTA, continuously updated online analyses of global trade developed from the statistics of all available countries.