Based on latest available statistics, ITP projects a volume of 3.2 million tons of recycle polyethylene traded globally in 2018. This is a decline of 31%, or 1.4 million tons, from 2017. Exports out of Western Europe and North America were particularly impacted, although shipments from all regions were down.
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.
Singapore imported 1.7 million tons of commodity polymers through July 2018, up 11%, and exported 4.2 million tons, up 6%.
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.
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.
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
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.
The volume of recycle polyethylene traded globally was up 12% through May, 2017, mainly on higher imports into China, followed by gains in other Asia-Pacific markets.
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