Recent Changes in US Polyethylene Trade Flows

With construction continuing on massive new polyethylene capacity, US imports trended up to a new record high in the second half of the year, as US exports plummeted.

US imports of polyethylene (L, LL, H, EVA and copolymers) totaled 3.0 million tons through November 2016, up 6% from the same period last year. Imports hit a new high of 290,000 tons in August and almost the same volume again in November. Canada was the source for more than 90% of the volume.

US polyethylene exports surged in the first half of 2016, hitting 550,000 tons in both March and April, but then trended sharply lower. Shipments in November were down to 392,000 tons; volume YTD totaled 5.0 million tons, up 5%.

Exports to Mexico and Canada, the top two destinations, were up 3% and 1%, respectively. Trends for other important export destinations varied, with lower exports to China, Brazil, Belgium and Peru, among others, higher volumes to Colombia, Chile and Singapore.

From International Trader Publications’: United States Polymer Trade Report