The slowdown in Western Europe’s demand was evident from the region’s intra-regional trade plus net imports. Imports of some products from the Middle East, however, surged.
Demand in Western Europe through April 2012, measured as the sum of intra-regional trade plus net imports, was down by -3% to -22% for nearly all the commodity and engineering polymers and basic chemicals monitored by ITP in its monthly newsletters. The only exceptions were polycarbonates, up 1%, and ethylene copolymers, up 7%.
Despite the overall drop in trade volume reflected by these figures, imports of several products into Western Europe from the Middle East increased. These included: LLDPE, up 8%; HDPE, up 14%; polypropylene homopolymer, up 70%; propylene copolymers, up 54%; ethylene monomer, up 21%; DEG, up 5%; and, benzene, up 21%.