ITP’s analysis of global trade in polystyrene indicates a 4% drop in the volume of general purpose polystyrene traded in 2014 versus 2013, to 3.3 million tons, and, a 2% increase in the volume of expandable polystyrene traded, to 2.2 million tons. Trends in global trade volume generally indicate trends in global demand.
Major trends in 2014 for general purpose PS included a 14% drop in Asia-Pacific intraregional trade, together with an 8% rise in the region’s exports, noting much higher shipments to Western Europe and Latin America than in the prior year.
In Western Europe, intraregional trade contracted by 10%, exports, which were mainly to Eastern Europe, fell 13%, and imports soared by 61% on much higher volumes from Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa. Imports into Eastern Europe dropped 7%. North America’s imports increased by 64%, polymer mainly from Latin America.
Major trends in 2014 for expandable PS included a 4% increase on imports into Eastern Europe, the world’s largest import market, and also gains into North America, up 15%, and Latin America, up 8%. Imports into the Middle East were down 19%.
On the export side, shipments of expandable PS from Asia-Pacific were off 1%, a steep decline to the Middle East not fully offset by gains to all other regional markets. Western Europe’s exports rose 8%; Latin America’s, 11%.