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Stats: Turkey’s H1 2022 polymer imports surpass 3 million tons

by Merve Madakbaşı -
  • 03/08/2022 (02:30)
Turkey’s polymer market size continued to widen despite uncertainties related to the global macro-economic environment. Total imports in the first half of 2022 set a new record high while easing freight rates, amid a global slowdown in trading, partially contributed to the increasing volume of imports.

According to ChemOrbis Import Statistics, overall polymer imports in January-June hit a new all-time high, expanding 8% yearly to slightly above 3 million tons. Saudi Arabia, South Korea, China, Russia, and the United States were the primary polymer suppliers during this time.

Turkey ended 2021 with cumulative imports of 5.5 million tons despite supply issues, logistic snarls, and container shortages.

Homo-PP imports see a brand new record

Homo-PP imports have not seen a respite from their steady growth since 2000. Cumulative imports remained slightly above 1 million tons in the first half of this year, displaying an increase of 4.8% compared to the same period of 2021.

However, copolymer imports fell by about 3% year on year to 182,000 tons. This was compared to an all-time high of 188,000 tons in H1 2021.

Total PE imports slightly pass the 1 million ton threshold

The total of LDPE, HDPE, LLDPE, and mLLDPE imports slightly passed 1 million tons in H1, up about 9.5% on the year. PE’s larger growth than PP may be attributed to slower demand from downstream markets, both at home and abroad, for the latter one.

LDPE imports down, HDPE and LLDPE hit all-time highs

On a product-breakdown basis, LDPE imports receded by 9% to 159,000 tons in H1 yearly. This pointed to the lowest volume since 2019 when Turkey imported 138,000 tons in the first half of the year right before the pandemic era kicked off.

HDPE imports rose by almost 12% to nearly 430,000 tons and LLDPE by more than 3% to 361,000 tons in H1 yearly. Both volumes pointed to their highest levels of all time for the period. Meanwhile, mLLDPE imports achieved a larger increase of 22% at 77,000 tons in the same timeframe.

S-PVC imports hit the highest level since 2014

S-PVC imports neared 400,000 tons in the first half of 2022, at 397,000 tons. This was up by 11.8% compared to H1 2021 and also pointed to the highest since 2014 for this period.

China and Russia take the lead

Turkey’s PVC market has seen major European suppliers lose their market share since H2 2020 when the region was hit by prolonged shutdowns. Their gap has been filled by other sources since then, while China and Russia took the lead in H1 2022.

Both suppliers were eager to boost their exports under the shadow of demand destruction amid Covid-driven demand slump in Asia, hyperinflation across the board, and waning demand from Europe for Russian origins amid the ongoing sanctions related to the conflict in East Europe.

According to ChemOrbis data, China (63,387 tons), Russia (54,410 tons), the USA (47,264 tons), South Korea (42,622 tons) and Mexico (34,031 tons) were Turkey’s top 5 suppliers in January-June 2022.

China has already tripled its exports to Turkey when compared to the full 2021 when imports stood at around 20,000 tons. Similarly, exports from Russia to Turkey have already jumped from 54,000 tons in the whole of 2021.

On the contrary, S-PVC imports from France, Spain, and Belgium stood well below 30,000 tons in the first half of 2022.

H1 imports up for PS, down for ABS

Cumulative PS imports recorded a 4% gain on a yearly comparison at 76,000 tons in the same period. This was despite slowing consumption amid plastic bans in export markets and inflationary pressures. Belgium, South Korea, and Iran were the top three suppliers of Turkey with 26,823 tons, 11,501 tons, and 10,471 tons, respectively.

Nonetheless, ABS imports edged down by 2.5% yearly to 75,000 tons in H1. South Korea accounted for more than 40,000 tons of the total imports.
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