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.
There was a strong upward trend in Thailand’s exports of commodity polymers through most of the first seven months of the year. Imports of virgin commodity polymers were up slightly; imports of recycle polymers soared.
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.
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.
Ethylene global trade in 2017 was 7.9 million tons up 10% from 2016.
Butadiene global trade in 2017 was 2.7 million tons, up 7% from 2016.
Butylene global trade in 2017 was just over 1 million tons, a 2% increase 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.
Imports were at record levels for most of the second half of 2017.