Trends in China’s Trade in Commodity Polymers in 2021

Unlike prior years, imports of commodity polymers did not surge into China toward yearend 2021 in advance of the Chinese Year slowdown. Also unusual was the sharp rise in exports out of China in December. The year ended with commodity polymer imports down 19%, to 27.5 million tons, and exports up 74%, to 8.9 million tons.

Imports of all of the commodity polymers (as combined grades of virgin polymer) – polyethylene, polypropylene, styrenics, PVC and PET – continued low at yearend. Exports of all the commodity polymers climbed in December, with particularly steep increases in shipments of PVC and PET. (Note differences of scale).

For full year 2021, imports of each of the commodity polymers as combined grades were down from 2020; exports, although smaller volumes, each were up. This is illustrated in the charts below (note differences of scale):

From International Trader Publications’ China Polymer Trade Report, an analysis of China’s monthly trade in commodity polymers, recyclable polymers and key fabricated plastic products, issued as soon as China publishes its trade statistics.