Surge in China’s Polyethylene Imports in November as Recycle PE Imports Drop

China’s polyethylene imports rebounded strongly in November 2017. This followed a relatively small holiday-related decline in October, versus previous years.  Imports of recycle polyethylene continued trending downward, to their lowest monthly volume in the 2013-2017 period.

China’s imports of virgin polyethylene set a new record high in September, eased moderately in October, then rebounded in November. Even higher volumes are possible in December and January in advance of the Chinese New Year on February 16th, 2018. Volume YTD was 12.2 million tons, up 20%.  Imports from most suppliers were up, with highest percentage gains on imports from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Thailand and the United States.

Some of the strength in China’s imports of virgin polyethylene is likely related to the decline in imports of recycle polyethylene, which trended to a low in November for the 2013-2017 period. Imports YTD were 1.9 million tons, down by 18%, or approximately 340,000 tons. Still lower imports of R-PE are expected to show in December statistics.

From International Trader Publications’ China Polymer Trade Report – an on line analysis of China’s imports and exports of virgin commodity polymers, recycle polymers and fabricated plastic products.