The US imported 577,000 tons of propylene polymers through October, 2018, up 39% from the same period in 2017. US exports of these polymers were down 13% through October, to 1.5 million tons.
US exports of ethylene polymers set a another record high in October, 2018, climbing to 706,300 tons. Volume in January was 494,000 tons.
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.
On August 23rd, the US imposed tariffs of 25% on imports of a number of fabricated plastic products from China, including film/sheet from PE and PP, tubes/pipes from PE and PP and monofilament from PE. US imports from China of all these products except PE film/sheet were down in August versus July.
As of August 23, 2018 China imposed a 25% tariff on a number of products from the US, including HDPE, ethylene-alpha-olefins copolymers and EVA. The new tariffs did not reduce total US exports of ethylene polymers in August, which continued at record levels.
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.
Exports from the US of commodity polymers trended higher through most of the first half of 2018 and set a new record in June. Imports of fabricated plastic products also hit a new high in June.
The US exported a total of 1.7 million tons of recycle polymers in 2017. Imports into the US of recycle polymers were 429,000 tons, up 2%. Continue reading
Imports of fabricated plastic products that can be specifically identified by polymer were 3.5 million tons in 2017, up 17%. (Much larger volumes of fabricated products are imported as mixtures of polymers.) Imports were at record high levels for most of the year, including through the fourth quarter.
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.