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China boosts polymer imports from US again despite shrinking overall imports in 2022

by Pınar Polat - ppolat@chemorbis.com
by Esra Ersöz - eersoz@chemorbis.com
  • 01/12/2022 (11:52)
According to ChemOrbis Import Statistics, China’s polymer imports from the US hit an all-time high of around 1.5 million tons in 2020. This was followed by a slump of %40 in 2021 while this year’s January-October statistics suggest that polymer imports from the US almost caught the previous year’s full data.

ChemOrbis data reveal that the country’s cumulative polymer imports from the US in the first ten months of 2022 rose nearly 8% when compared to the same period of last year to stand at around 825,000 tons. This is despite the fact that China’s overall polymer imports has shrunk 11% y-o-y owing to new capacities coming online domestically. Considering the aggressive destocking activities of US sellers in the last quarter of the year, more US imports are set to be reflected on November and December statistics upon their arrival.

Imports from the US gained speed particularly in October

China’s overall polymer imports from the United States surged 61% monthly to reach 139,754 tons in October. On a yearly comparison, the increase was even larger at 156%.

The October 2022 figure represents the highest monthly volume since March 2021, data also show.

Meanwhile, the US was also the fifth largest supplier of polymers to China in October, ranked after Iran (151,788 tons), South Korea (200,535 tons), the United Arab Emirates (211,499 tons), and Saudi Arabia (331,456 tons).

US PE raised market share in China y-o-y

In January-October, cumulative data also suggest that LDPE and LLDPE imports from the US respectively rose 27% and 12% year over year. Meanwhile the US moved up in the list of top suppliers, outpacing Iran in LLDPE and Taiwan and Qatar in HDPE.

In October, LDPE imports from the US increased 41% monthly to reach 29,699 tons while LLDPE imports from the US also jumped 81% within the same period to stand at 64,656 tons. These volumes made the US the third largest supplier of China for both products.

The monthly volumes of LDPE and LLDPE were at the highest respectively since January 2022 and August 2020, ChemOrbis data show.

2022 Jan-Oct data display a big jump in US PVC imports from 2021

ChemOrbis data also reveal that China’s PVC imports from the US rose considerably in the first ten months of the year by 77% from the same period of last year to around 55,000 tons, although overall imports are still far from the records set back in 2020 and before. As a side note, China’s overall PVC imports slumped by more than 60% in 2021, when US imports plunged by %88 on year.

October marked the highest monthly volume since November 2020 with 16,511 tons.On a month-over-month comparison, PVC imports from the US surged 31% to be reported at 16,511 tons in October.

The pressure of US PVC cargoes in China , as well as the global markets was felt robustly in October, dragging the low ends of price ranges down.
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