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Stats: China’s PE demand grows more than 11% in 2020

by Başak Ceylan -
  • 26/01/2021 (03:44)
According to data from ChemOrbis Import Statistics, China’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.

China – Import PE

HDPE, LLDPE imports break new thresholds

A further breakdown of the data shows that HDPE imports totalled 9,095,846 tons, indicating an increase of more than 12% over 2019. This also was the largest volume since ChemOrbis started tracking imports data in 2001. China’s import LLDPE demand growth was more than 15% in 2020, standing at a record-high of 6,045,373 tons. At the same time, the total volume of 3,390,582 tons of LDPE imports represented a decrease from a record-high total of 3,430,380 reported last year

Better economic data, higher consumption boost imports

The record-breaking growth in China’s PE imports did not come as a surprise to many market players. 2020 brought an increased demand for PE amid a high consumption of packaged foods, sanitary products, and medical applications. On top of this, China’s economy ended last year on a firm footing and became the only major world economy to grow in this pandemic-hit year.


Saudi Arabia occupied the top position as the biggest HDPE exporter to China at 1,989,987 tons in 2020. Iran ranked second in HDPE exports, with a yearly total of 1,340,173 tons. The United Arab Emirates remained as the third largest HDPE exporter to China at 1,184,056 tons.


Iran held onto its top position as China’s main LDPE exporter in 2020 at 704,554 tons. Iran’s share was 33% higher than its closest competitor Saudi Arabia, from which China imported 471,442 tons of LDPE in 2020. Qatar replaced the United States as the third largest LDPE exporter in 2020 with a total of 349,193 tons.


For LLDPE, Saudi Arabia ranked first in total exports to China at 1,283,198 tons in 2020. Singapore occupied the second position with 1,022,746 tons while Thailand remained at the third place with 547,591 tons exported into China.
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