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Stats: Turkey’s 2022 PE imports hit record-highs, PVC growth gains momentum; but PP slumps

by Merve Madakbaşı -
  • 03/02/2023 (05:14)
According to ChemOrbis Import Statistics, Turkey’s cumulative polymer imports have set a new record at 5,620,000 tons in the whole of 2022. The total figure represented a marginal gain of 1% from 2021 when Turkey imported 5,559,000 tons of polymers. This means that import growth has slowed in comparison to the previous three years.

Apparently, polymer consumption continued to grow last year, albeit at a slower pace amid a challenging domestic economy and recession fears across the board.

HDPE and PVC fared better as the cumulative imports showed increases on a yearly basis versus falls in PP, LDPE, and LLDPE imports. Inflationary pressures have hit PP consumption more than PE consumption in the last year, with food packaging applications particularly supporting HDPE consumption. PVC imports, meanwhile, shrugged off stagnancy that pervaded the construction sector as prolonged bearishness buoyed resin purchases throughout H2 2022. 

Imports – Turkey – Statistics – 2022– Polymers

Saudi Arabia remains top supplier with almost 1.5 million tons

Turkey’s five main polymer suppliers were Saudi Arabia (1,472,301 tons), Russia (464,532 tons), South Korea (462,736 tons), the USA (412,259 tons) and China (395,898 tons) last year. 

Overall imports from Saudi Arabia, Turkey’s by far the main polymer supplier, gained 1.5% in 2022 when compared to the previous year, data suggested. 

Meanwhile, Russia overtook South Korea’s place and ranked as Turkey’s second-largest supplier. In 2021, the Central European country exported approximately 358,192 tons of polymers to Turkey. This is to say, the volume jumped by 30% in 2022, reflecting the impact of sanctions from the western nations on trading flow. Fading demand from Europe forced Russia to focus more on nearby Turkey, as well as China and India, over the past year.

PP imports erode by %6 after hitting multi-year highs in 2021

In 2022, Turkey imported approximately 2,2 million tons of polypropylene, a nearly 6% decrease from the previous year. In a grade breakdown, imports of homo-PP stood slightly below 1,9 million tons, down by 6% on the year as Turkey imported nearly 2 million tons of PPH in 2021. As for PP copolymer, imports moved below 350,000 tons and indicated a similar amount of decline.

Turkey’s top PPH suppliers were Saudi Arabia, Russia, and South Korea, with respective volumes of about 830,000 tons, 242,000 tons, and 141,000 tons. Russia raised its PPH exports to Turkey by nearly 31% year-on-year.

Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates became Turkey’s top PP copolymer suppliers, with respective volumes of around 110,000 tons, 69,000 tons, and 31,000 tons in the whole of 2022.

China’s PP exports to Turkey flat despite falling freight rates

According to ChemOrbis Import Statistics, China exported nearly 60,000 tons of homo-PP to Turkey last year, almost unchanged from 2021, when the volume spiked.

Although freight rates from Asia to Turkey plunged significantly in 2022, lower run rates and some delayed start-ups in China, coupled with unfavorable netbacks in Turkey, prevented a further boost in exports.

Turkey’s PPH imports from Iran nosedive

In 2022, homo-PP imports from Iran fell by nearly 87% to less than 10,000 tons, down from more than 60,000 tons in the previous year, when Iran was Turkey’s sixth-largest supplier. The slump was in line with Iran’s curbs on its exports of certain petrochemical products that aimed to feed its local requirements. Yet, PE imports were not affected by the measures, as Iran remained among the major suppliers of Turkey for LDPE, HDPE, and LLDPE.

S-PVC imports breach 750,000 tons, USA takes lion’s share

In 2022, Turkey imported about 767,000 tons of suspension PVC (S-PVC), up 9% from 2021. The volume indicated the highest level since 2014, when imports neared 800,000 tons.

The USA took the lead with almost 110,000 tons, which corresponds to 14% of the total figure. It was followed by China (106,564 tons), Egypt (80,858 tons), Russia (71,054 tons), and South Korea (64,196 tons).

European exporters to Turkey were not among the top five. Other duty-free origins, including Egypt and South Korea, as well as slightly higher Russian volumes compared to 2021, toppled European origins from the throne.

Overall PE imports hit a new all-time high in 2022

Data from ChemOrbis suggested that the cumulative PE imports shattered all records, standing at 1,966,550 tons last year. Including all imports of LDPE, LLDPE, mLLDPE, and HDPE, the volume pointed to a 1% gain from 2021.

In a product breakdown, LDPE imports were at around 324,000 tons in total, down 9% compared to 2021. The main LDPE exporters into Turkey were Saudi Arabia (67,000 tons), Azerbaijan (33,000 tons), and Iran (29,000 tons). European origins fell out of the top three due to the region’s high energy prices and rate cuts throughout most of last year.

Imports of LLDPE declined by 3.5% in 2022 from the previous year to 696,000 tons. Saudi Arabia was again Turkey’s largest LLDPE supplier, with about 233,000 tons. The USA followed with 183,000 tons, while Iran was the third supplier with 58,000 tons.

HDPE imports fare better than other grades

In 2022, HDPE imports reached 789,000 tons and represented a gain of 6% year-on-year. The total volume pointed to the highest level since ChemOrbis started to compile data 22 years ago. The top three HDPE suppliers remained Saudi Arabia (190,000 tons), Iran (127,000 tons), and Uzbekistan (97,000 tons).
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