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.
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.
ITP projects polypropylene homopolymer trade volume for 2018 of 20 million tons, up 1% from 2017. This compares with an increase of 5% in 2017 versus 2016. The trend in global trade volume generally indicates the trend in world demand.
ITP projects global trade volume in 2018 of 62 million tons in all polymers of ethylene (LDPE/LLDPE, HDPE, EAOC, Copolymers and EVA), up 5% from 2017. This compares with an increase of 7% in 2017 versus 2016. The trend in global trade volume generally indicates the trend in world demand.
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.
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.
LNG global trade in 2017 was 280 million tons, up 8%.
Propylene monomer global trade in 2017 was 8.0 million tons, up 2% from 2016.
Shipments totaled 5.3 million tons for the year, with volumes at record high levels early in the year, a slowdown from May through November, then a surge in December.
Monthly import volume fell to 64,000 tons in December, the price steady throughout the fourth quarter around $490/ton.