Trends in China’s Polyolefin Trade Through February 2924

Polyethylene import and export volumes were higher versus February YTD 2023, but at depressed prices. Imports of polypropylene were down sharply; low-priced export volumes climbed.

Although the Chinese New Year holiday in February depressed trade for the month, imports of polyethylene, all grades, were up 3% from the prior February YTD, to 2.7 million tons. (Smaller volume exports were up 4%, to 241,000 tons.)

China’s import volumes and prices for all grades of polyethylene are shown below. The United States continued as the top supplier, volume up 27%, to 436,000 tons. Supplies from Saudi Arabia were down 12%, to 423,000 tons. There were gains of 3%-9% on imports from Korea, UAE and Iran. Average prices eased to $1091/ton in February.

China’s imports of all grades of polypropylene, shown below, totaled 627,000 tons through February, down 24%. Volumes from many sources both within and outside the Asia-Pacific region, were down. The average import price in February was $1221/ton.

China’s exports of propylene polymers, shown below, which averaged roughly 125,000 tons per month for most of 2023, surged to 171,000 tons in February. Polymer was shipped worldwide, headed by Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Brazil and Thailand. The average price in February was the lowest in the graphed period at $1094/ton.

This information is from International Trader Publications China Polymer Trade Report, a 60-page monthly analysis of China’s trade in every grade of virgin polymers of ethylene, propylene, styrene, VCM and PET, and also recyclable polymers and plastic products identifiable by polymer type. It is published as soon as China reports its trade figures.