ITP projects MEG trade volume for 2018 of 15.1 million tons, up 1% from 2017. This compares with an increase of 10% from 2016 to 2017. The trend in global trade volume generally indicates the trend in world demand.
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.
After trending downward for most of 2016 and into early 2017 China’s imports of liquefied butane gases soared to a new record high of 557,000 ton in May and continued to rise in June, reaching 587,000 tons. Average prices slipped in both months, to $433/ton in June.
Through May, 2017, China imported a total of 5.4 million tons of ethylene polymers, up 17% from the same period in 2016. Iran supplied 823,000 tons, or 15%, of the total, down 7%. A restriction on imports into China from Iran, will likely be made up by Saudi Arabia, US, Korea and UAE, among others.