Trends in Polyolefin Polymer Trade in Western Europe in 2023

Polyolefin polymer demand in Western Europe in 2023 is measurable in part from the region’s intra-regional trade, its imports from other regions, and its exports to other regions. Lower intra-regional trade and lower imports indicate a drop in demand from one year to the next. These were evident in 2023 versus 2022 for LDPE, linear PE, HDPE, and PP homopolymer. Lower polymer demand in a region is also usually associated with an increase in a region’s exports, if conditions make this possible. Western Europe’s exports of HDPE did increase in 2023, but shipments of other polymers were constrained by low demand in other regions and surging exports from North America.

Trade measures all of a region’s polymer demand except for volumes both produced and consumed within each country within the region, which are not visible. Intra-regional trade in Western Europe was down in 2023 versus 2022 for each of the polyolefins polymers.

Western Europe also imported less of each of the polyolefins from other regions. Exports abroad were mixed, noting a 6% increase in HDPE shipments, to 1.2 million tons, and a 1% increase in LDPE exports, to 1.3 million tons, no change in linear PE exports, at 1.0 million tons, and a 4% decline in exports of PP homopolymer, to 1.3 million tons.

Impacting trade flows globally, and particularly exports from the Middle East, were US exports of polyethylene, which totaled 13.8 million tons across all grades in 2023, up 21%. High volume US shipments at low prices continued through February 2024:

From International Trader Publications World Trade Analyses on polyolefins, all grades, continuously updated analyses of trade based on latest statistics from all available countries.