US exports of polyethylene slumped from August through October 2020 in the aftermath of several hurricanes, then climbed back to record territory in December. Exports to China in January were up more than double from the prior January.
The need for PMMA film and sheet in personal protective equipment resulted in a stunning surge in imports into countries all over the globe during the April – August 2020 period, and also record exports from several.
After trending higher since December and reaching record levels in March, the total volume of US exports across all the ethylene polymers was down in April. Shipments for the month were down 10% from March, but the magnitude of the decline varied greatly by specific polymer and also by region.
Brazil is one of the largest importers of caustic soda in aqueous solution in the world, with YTD imports for 2019 totaling 2.3 million metric tons, up 15% compared to 2018 at year’s end. As of March 2020 YTD, Brazil had imported 709,000 tons, up 116% versus last year.
After slowing in November, 2019, US exports of ethylene polymers climbed in both December and January 2020. Little impact on volumes and prices from the corona virus is expected in US export statistics for February, with March and following months affected more severely.