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Stats: China’s 2020 polymer imports hit record-high despite pandemic

by Pınar Polat - ppolat@chemorbis.com
  • 26/01/2021 (14:44)
Although the global economies including China faced challenges amid COVID-19-related uncertainties, the country’s demand for polymers continued to grow in 2020.

China’s polymer imports reached above 28.5 million tons in 2020 and indicated the highest yearly total volume, according to ChemOrbis Import Statistics data dating back to 2001.

The country’s total polymer imports in 2020 increased 14% compared to over 25 million tons recorded in 2019.

Import ABS prices - China - Southeast Asia

The top five polymer exporters to China in 2020 were Saudi Arabia (4,435,025 tons), South Korea (3,397,835 tons), the United Arab Emirates (2,616,829 tons), Iran (2,423,015 tons) and Taiwan (2,303,100 tons).

China was the only major economy that reports a growth for 2020, managing to expand by 2.3%, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The country’s success in controlling COVID-19, stimulus measures and low lending rates after the lockdown was lifted in April boosted its share of global trade and investment.

2020 PE imports slightly above 18.5 million tons

The country’s total PE imports came in at a colossal volume of 18.5 million tons in 2020.

It not only indicated an increase of more than 11% over 2019 but also the highest volume recorded since ChemOrbis started tracking import statistics data in 2001.

PP imports also hit record-highs

Data suggest that China’s total PP imports, including homo-PP and PPBC grades, surged 26% from 2019 to reach around 6.3 million tons in 2020, the highest level in record.

Homo-PP imports were up 29% from a year earlier to be reported at a record high of 4.5 million tons while PPBC imports increased 19% to reach around 1.8 million tons in 2020.

PVC imports see highest levels since 2011

In 2020, total PVC imports into China witnessed a yearly gain of 43% to reach 951,000 tons. This was the highest yearly volume since 2011, according to ChemOrbis Import Statistics data.

Meanwhile, China exported 628,000 tons of PVC in 2020, up 24% on a yearly basis.
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