Although trade data for July for the US does not reflect new tariffs of 25% on many fabricated plastic products from China, US statistics showed record volumes being imported each month from May through July.
US exports of polypropylene, propylene copolymers and polyisobutylene were down 14% through July 2018, to 1.1 million tons, while imports jumped 36%, to 370,000 tons.
Reflecting new capacity, US exports of ethylene polymers (LDPE, LLDPE, EAOC, HDPE, EVA, Copolymers) trended upward from the last quarter of 2017 and climbed through several new highs through July 2018.
There was a strong upward trend in Thailand’s exports of commodity polymers through most of the first seven months of the year. Imports of virgin commodity polymers were up slightly; imports of recycle polymers soared.
Singapore imported 1.7 million tons of commodity polymers through July 2018, up 11%, and exported 4.2 million tons, up 6%.
Korea’s exports of commodity polymers expanded moderately in the first seven months of 2018, as did shipments of fabricated plastic products. Imports rose sharply. Korea exported less recycle polymers but imported more.
Brazil’s exports of commodity polymers trended downward through most of the first seven months of 2018. Imports were moderately higher; imports of fabricated plastic products rose strongly.
In the first seven months of 2018, Iran exported slightly more polyethylene than in the same period in 2017. Exports of polypropylene were lower; exports of styrenic polymers and PVC increased, but volumes were small. Exports of fabricated plastic products reached new highs.
India’s trade in commodity polymers in the first half of 2018 was highlighted by record high exports of virgin polymers, record high exports of fabricated plastic products, and, increased imports of recycle polymers.
Global trade in recycle polyethylene was down 14% through June 2018, the loss of China as an import market partly offset by higher imports into other Asia-Pacific markets and also Turkey.