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China’s HDPE imports from US skyrocket

  • 27/07/2016 (09:34)
China’s overall polymer imports shed 6% year-over-year in the first half of 2016 while HDPE imports remained mostly stable in a yearly comparison. However, there was a major change in the top 5 suppliers for HDPE as imports from the US soared by 93% in 1H when compared to the same period of last year.

China imported more than 118,000 tons of HDPE from the US in 1H, which was the highest level of the past 6 years. The US, which stood in 9th place in 2015 in China’s top HDPE supplying countries, moved up to be the 5th largest supplier in 1H, leaving Thailand, Taiwan, Kuwait and Qatar behind.

The main four suppliers were unchanged; however, there were some changes among them as well. The main HDPE supplier of China continued to be Iran in 1H as it raised its market share further by 22% on the year. Saudi Arabia, the second largest supplier, exported 12% less HDPE to China in 1H compared to the same period of last year. United Arab Emirates’ market share was unchanged while imports from South Korea fell by 18% on the year.

In the past one month, players in China have reported competitive HDPE offers from the US. The new shale-based PE capacities that started to come onstream recently in the US have been apparently causing sellers to pay more attention to export markets.

According to some players, the impact of these new capacities will be more visible through the end of the year, putting more pressure on many export destinations for the US, mainly in China, as it may coincide with the start-up of new coal-based plants in the country.
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