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Stats: India’s Jan-Sep PVC imports surge, China takes the lion’s share despite safeguard investigation

by Merve Sezgün -
  • 23/11/2023 (02:38)
India’s overall PVC imports for the first three quarters of 2023 recorded a year-on-year surge, reaching a new all-time high for the period, according to data from ChemOrbis Stats Wizard. Notably, the leading supplier, China, increased its exports to the country by %80 compared to the same period of last year despite the ongoing safeguard investigation that started around September 2022.

Q1-Q3 imports already surpass 2022’s total volume

India, the world’s largest PVC buyer, imported over 2.4 million tons of PVC in the January-September period of the current year. This significantly exceeded the total volume of around 1.8 million tons recorded for the entire year of 2022. Players mainly attribute the surge in the country’s PVC demand to the ongoing infrastructure works.

The graph below created by ChemOrbis Stats Wizard shows that the country’s total PVC imports for the first three quarters of 2023 were up by 75% from the same period of the previous year, setting a new record.

India – PVC – statistics

China remains the top supplier by a landslide

In the first three quarters of 2023, China continued to maintain its position as the primary PVC supplier to India, with imports reaching nearly 845,000 tons. This represents a remarkable 80% increase compared to the same period last year. Taiwan ranked the second largest supplier with around 360,000 tons, followed by Japan (around 338,000 tons).

Despite the substantial surge in import volume, China’s market share in India’s PVC market remained relatively stable from a year earlier, hovering around 35%. However, when viewed in a broader context, the current market share is still a notable jump from previous years.
In 2021, China held a market share of 17% in India, showcasing a significant increase in just one year. In 2020, China’s market share was a mere 2%.

India – PVC – suppliers

Safeguard investigation failed to deter Indian buyers from Chinese PVC

The fact that China maintained its leading supplier position is noteworthy, especially in the face of an ongoing safeguard investigation initiated by India.

Last year, India launched an investigation aimed at imposing safeguard duties to restrict imports of PVC suspension resins with residual vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) content above 2 parts per million. Market players initially anticipated potential disruptions to PVC imports from China.

As of May 2023, the PVC industry in India was still awaiting clarity on the safeguard investigation’s outcomes. The investigation recommended the imposition of quantitative restrictions on imports from China, Taiwan, the US, and Russia, totaling about 221,000 tons for a year. Quarterly quotas were suggested for each country, with China having a quarterly quota of 20,000-21,000 tons.

The complexity arises from the inclusion of Taiwan, the US, and Russia in the list, leading to confusion among market players. The recommended quotas and their application remain uncertain, with traders seeking further clarification from the government. Additionally, there is ambiguity regarding whether the quotas are for all PVC imports or specifically for PVC with residual VCM content exceeding 2ppm.
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