United States exports of polypropylene homopolymer have been on a downward trend since 2009. Part of that that decline, however, has been offset by increased shipments of propylene copolymers. US exports of polypropylene homopolymer peaked around 2007, and, except for a rebound in 2009 because of a huge increase in China’s imports, have since trended lower each year. To illustrate, US polypropylene homopolymer shipments in 2007 were 2 million tons; by 2013 export volume was down to 1 million tons.
US exports of propylene copolymers showed modest gains over most of the 2009-2013 period, rising to 0.6 million tons in 2013.
Should more propylene become available from planned PDH units, US exports of both of these polymers are likely to increase, particularly given the slowdown in 2013 in global exports from Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of polypropylene homo-polymer.