As it did in 2009 during the financial crisis, China buttressed the global petrochemical industry with record imports of LLDPE and HDPE during the 2020 pandemic. Volume was heavy from May through October 2020. Much higher imports from North America (US), Eastern Europe (Russia) and other Asia-Pacific, and a drop in imports of LLDPE from the Middle East, were prominent supply changes.
Through October 2020, China imported 5.5 millions tons of linear low density polyethylene (as EAOC), up 17% from the same period in 2019. Higher volumes of polymer were pulled in from Asia-Pacific, 2.7 million tons, up 12%, North America, 0.7 million tons, up 130%, Eastern Europe, 0.16 million tons, up from minor volumes, and Western Europe, 0.15 million tons, up 32%, but, imports from the Middle East dropped by 3%, to 1.7 million tons.
China imported 7.7 millions tons of HDPE through October 2020, also up 17% from the same period in 2019. Imports from North America went from 0.2 million tons in 2019 to 0.6 million tons, up 169%; imports from Eastern Europe jumped from 0.1 million tons, also to 0.6 million tons, up 439%. Supplies from Asia-Pacific posted a 15% gain, to 2.1 million tons; from the Middle East, a 2% increase, to 4.2 million tons.
From International Trader Publications China Polymer Trade Report, a monthly analysis of China’s imports and exports of all commodity polymers, recycle polymers and key fabricated plastic products.