Trends in Styrenics Trade in 2011 – Preliminary

Preliminary overview of styrenics trade in 2011: lower global trade volume in ABS, SAN, non-expandable polystyrene and styrene; moderately higher expandable polystyrene volume; much higher Asia-Pacific exports of polystyrene and SAN to Western Europe and Eastern Europe.

Based on preliminary data for 2011, the total volume of imports and exports traded between all countries during the year was: 4.4 M tons of ABS, down 10%; 0.5 M tons of SAN, down 3%; 3.7 M tons of non-expandable PS, down 5%; and 10.7 M tons of styrene, down 3%.  Trade in expandable PS increased 6%, to 2.2 M tons. Major trends visible for each product are discussed below.

  • ABS – The 10% drop in volume by yearend mainly reflected moderately lower imports into North America and Latin America and a 13% contraction in Asia-Pacific intra-regional trade. Asia-Pacific exports to both Western Europe and Eastern Europe rose 3%-4%.
  • SAN – Global trade volume ended the year down 3%, with every world region importing less polymer except Eastern Europe and, with small volumes, also the Middle East. Asia-Pacific exports to Western Europe and Eastern Europe increased 13% and 173%, respectively.
  • Non-expandable PS – Although imports into Western Europe jumped 25% and those into Eastern Europe rose 12% (both largely reflecting increased supplies from Asia-Pacific) these gains were partly offset by lower imports into Latin America and the Middle East. Also contributing to the 5% drop in global trade volume was an 11% drop in Asia-Pacific intra-regional trade.
  • Expandable PS – Demand increases in Eastern Europe and Latin America of 12%-14%, plus small gains in other regions, accounted for the 6% growth in global trade volume. Asia-Pacific exports rose 11% on higher shipments to all regions except Africa and North America.Styrene – Key factors in the 3% drop in global trade volume: lower intra-regional trade in Asia-Pacific and Western Europe, and, lower imports into Western Europe and Latin America, which were not offset by import gains into Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe. Middle East exports rose 9%

[important]This information is from ITP’s monthly newsletters and World Trade Annual Reviews on global trade in polymers and chemicals, available by subscription.[/important]

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