Although virgin polyethylene production capacity is similar in both regions, Western Europe exported 1.4 million tons of recycle polyethylene in 2017, compared with 0.6 million tons exported by from North America.
Shipments in 2017 from both regions were mainly to Asia-Pacific, although 220,000 tons of its total was shipped by Western Europe to Eastern Europe. Exports from both Western Europe and North America declined versus 2016, by 15% and 9%, respectively.
As of January 2018, China’s imports of R-PE have virtually disappeared. Although R-PE imports into Vietnam, Malaysia, Turkey and other countries have been rising, their imports to date are much smaller than China’s. Because of the previous size of Western Europe’s R-PE exports, that region will likely be impacted by the loss of the Chinese market to a greater degree than will North America.
From International Trader Publications’ Recycle Polyethylene World Trade Review – a continuously updated on line analysis of trade trends between countries and regions, based on latest import/export statistics from 46 countries.
China imported 1.9 million tons of recycle polyethylene from all sources in 2017, down 23%. Imports trended lower for most of the year with further declines expected in 2018 as restrictions come into full force. Continue reading →
China’s polyethylene imports rebounded strongly in November 2017. This followed a relatively small holiday-related decline in October, versus previous years. Imports of recycle polyethylene continued trending downward, to their lowest monthly volume in the 2013-2017 period.
If China cuts off all imports of recycle plastics, as reported in the media as possibly occurring as soon as 2018, the impact on recycling industries in the US, Europe and Asia of the loss of a market for 7.3 million tons of recycle polymer would be huge.
Although volumes are expected to drop in February, imports in January 2017 of LLDPE, HDPE, EVA, polypropylene, propylene copolymers all were up substantially from January 2016. Imports of recycle PE, PP and also PET posted gains. Shipments of fabricated plastic products remained at record levels for the third month in a row. Continue reading →