Author Archives: JJSUDOL

About JJSUDOL

Jean Sudol is president of International Trader Publications, which analyzes global trade flows in polymers and chemicals. Prior to founding ITP in 1984, she worked in research at Union Carbide, in planning at Mobil Chemical, and, following that, in the industry as a consultant on trade. Jean has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Fordham University, a Masters degree in Organic Chemistry from New York University and a Masters degree in Business from Manhattan College.

Brazil’s Polymer Trade in 2018

Brazil imported 1.9 million tons of commodity polymers in 2018, up 11%. Exports were smaller, 1.6 million tons, and fell by 17%. Trade in recycle polymers was minor, noting a sharp drop in exports. Fabricated plastic product imports totaled 173,000 tons, up 9%; exports were 133,000 tons, up 3%.

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Thailand’s Polymer Trade in 2018

Thailand exported 5.4 million tons of commodity polymers in 2018, up 16% from 2017. The country became an important new market for recycle polymers, imports of which nearly quadrupled in 2018, to 553,000 tons. Sizable volumes of fabricated plastic products, 663,000 tons, up 8%, were exported to Asia-Pacific and North America.

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Korea’s Polymer Trade in 2018

Korea exported 10 million tons of commodity polymers in 2018, up 4% from the prior year, imported 900,000 tons of commodity polymers, up 15%, plus an additional 150,000 tons of recycle polymers, up 141%.

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Global Methacrylates Trade up 6% in 2018

Over 1.4 million tons of methacrylates was traded globally in 2018, up 6% from 2017. The Middle East became the world’s largest methacrylates exporting region, surpassing North America and Western Europe.

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China’s Polymer Trade in 2018

Much higher imports of polyethylene and styrenic polymers, reduced polymer imports from the US, no imports of recycle polymers, and, record high exports of fabricated plastic products characterized China’s trade in 2018.

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US Exports of HDPE Hit New High

US exports of HDPE have trended higher through most of 2018, with volume of 2.1 million tons through October up 21% from the same period in 2017. A record 259,000 tons were shipped in the month of October.

Shipments increased to every region except the Middle East, with the largest percentage gains on exports to Western Europe and Asia Pacific.

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Regional Shifts in US Exports of Linear Low Density Polyethylene

Two main factors – the startup of new capacity plus tariffs on exports to China – have resulted in large regional shifts in US exports of linear PE.  Exports have increased to all regions but especially to Western and Eastern Europe, and combined shipments to those regions now exceed those to Asia-Pacific.

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Global Trade in Recycle Polyethylene Down 31% in 2018

Based on latest available statistics, ITP projects a volume of 3.2 million tons of recycle polyethylene traded globally in 2018. This is a decline of 31%, or 1.4 million tons, from 2017. Exports out of Western Europe and North America were particularly impacted, although shipments from all regions were down.

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