Sharp Drop in Global Isocyanates Trade Through May 2020 and Projected for Year End

The volume of isocyanates (combined MDI, TDI and other) traded through May 2020 was down 10% from the same period last year, based on latest available statistics. Asia-Pacific and Western Europe, accounting for more than half of global trade volume, each saw trade contract within their regions, with lower imports.

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The United States is Back. New Record High on PE Exports in May 2020, Much Higher Shipments to China a Key Factor.

US exports of ethylene polymers rose to 1.0 million tons in May, 2020, an all-time high, after slowing to 885,000 tons in April. The average price across the major polymer groups fell to $921/ton.

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China’s Exports of Fabricated Plastic Products Lose Momentum in May 2020

While China’s imports of PE, PP and PVC hit new highs in May, China’s exports of key fabricated plastic products were flat at April levels. Slowing demand in the US was a factor for a number of products.

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China is Back. Imports of PE and PP Hit New Highs in May 2020.

After a slow beginning to the year as China battled the Corona virus, polyolefin imports picked up moderately in March and April then soared to new record highs in May. Prices continued their steep declines.

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Prominent Trends in Western Europe’s Polyethylene Trade Through April 2020 Point to Slower Demand

A slowdown in intra-regional trade and generally lower imports from other regions, with one key exception, were prominent trends in Western Europe’s PE trade, based on the most current data available.

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Imports of Film and Sheet from PE, PP and PET Surge into the US in April.

During the worst month of the pandemic, the United States sharply increased imports of film and sheet made from polyethylene, polypropylene and PET, volumes of each in April at or near record levels. These polymers, among others, are used for personal protective equipment.

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US Exports of Some, But Not All, Ethylene Polymers Slow in April 2020

After trending higher since December and reaching record levels in March, the total volume of US exports across all the ethylene polymers was down in April. Shipments for the month were down 10% from March, but the magnitude of the decline varied greatly by specific polymer and also by region.

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