Polyethylene Bags, Sacks and Cones: Current Global Trade Trends

In 2014, global trade in fabricated products made from polyethylene into bags, sacks and cones totaled 3.7 million tons, up 1% from the prior year. Trade volume through June of 2015 was also up 1% from last year, based on reporting countries. Global trade volume is an indicator of global demand.

Although China is the world’s largest exporter of these products, shipping 1.17 million tons in 2014, unchanged from the prior year, a number of other countries also ship large volumes. These include Germany, Poland, US, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, followed by Netherlands, Italy and Turkey.

Nearly every world market imports some amount of PE bags, sacks and cones. By far the largest importers are the US, importing 655,000 tons in 2014, up 4%, and Japan, with 538,000 tons, up 2%.

Imports into the US set new record highs in 2012, slowed in 2013, then picked up again in the second and third quarters of 2014. Imports through June of 2015 were 351,000 tons, up 12%. In 2014, China supplied 335,000 tons, up 5%. Other top sources were Thailand, 93,000 tons, up 28%, Canada, 34,000 tons, down 43%, and Malaysia, 31,000 tons, down 24%.

There was an upward trend in imports into Japan each year since at least 2010, volume heaviest in the second half of the year. Volume through the first half of 2015, however, was down 6%. For the full year 2014, China supplied 266,000 tons, down 3%, Indonesia, 76,000 tons, up 6%, Thailand, 68,000 tons, down 3%, Vietnam, 60,000 tons, up 15%, and Malaysia, 31,000 tons, up 16%.

Other top importing countries in 2014 included: France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Austria, UK, Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Czech Republic, Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong and Australia.

From International Trader Publications’: Polyethylene Bags, Sacks and Cones World Trade Report