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.
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.
A 14% increase in global LNG trade in 2018, to 318 million tons of imports and exports, is forecast by ITP based on the latest available statistics. This follows an 8% increase in global trade in 2017 versus 2016.
China’s imports October YTD showed particularly strong gains on imports of ethylene-alpha-olefins copolymers (LLDPE) and styrenic polymers, versus the same period in 2017. Only imports of PVC were down.