Trends in Propylene Copolymers Global Trade

Global trade in propylene copolymers was 10 million tons in 2022, down 3% from the prior year. ITP projects another decline of 3% in 2023, to 9.7 million tons.

Trade volume rose from 7.8 million tons in 2013 to 10.1 million tons in 2018 and then remained around 10 million tons per year through 2022.

Propylene copolymers are defined as polymers in which propylene is the predominant monomer but accounts for less than 95% of the weight of the polymer. Polypropylene homopolymer is 95% or more propylene and accounted for 21.9 million tons of global trade in 2022.

The following graphs compare 2018 with 2022 and show how much propylene copolymer was exported by each region to other regions, and, how much was imported into each region from other regions. (Both exclude intra-regional trade.)

On the export side, note large volume exports out of Western Europe (mainly Belgium, Netherlands and Germany). About two-thirds of this goes to Eastern Europe with the remainder spread across all other regions. Middle East’s (mainly Saudi Arabia and UAE) top export destination is Asia-Pacific followed by Eastern Europe and Africa. Asia-Pacific (mainly Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan) exports to all regions.

On the import side, top importers in Eastern Europe are Turkey, Poland and Czech Republic. Brazil and Mexico accounted for most of Latin America’s imports. In Asia-Pacific, China is the top importer, with large volumes also into India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan.

China’s imports and South Korea’s exports are shown below. China imported 891,000 tons from all sources through August 2023, down 10%. South Korea exported 860,000 tons to all destinations through the same period, down 16%.

From International Trader Publications’ Propylene Copolymers World Trade Analysis, a continuously updated online analysis of global trade developed from trade statistics from all available countries.