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Total polymer imports to EU28 hit record high in 2019

by Manolya Tufan -
  • 24/02/2020 (17:34)
Data from Eurostat reveal that overall polymer imports into the European Union in 2019 hit a record high since 2001 following five straight years of expansion, according to ChemOrbis Stats Wizard.

According to the full year import statistics for 2019, the EU’s cumulative polymer imports were up by more than 17% on the year to hit over 8 million tons last year. On a monthly basis, they fell by nearly 13% to around 532,560 tons in December, while they were down by 2% from the same month of 2018.

Still, the trend varied in a product-based breakdown, with overall PP, PE, PS and PET imports booming while others contracting. One of the products contributing to the upward movement in EU’s overall import growth was PET. Overall PET imports rose by 29% year over year, marking the fastest pace of growth among all polymers. LLDPE was the only PE grade indicating a yearly drop. LDPE imports grew at a slower pace when compared to mLLDPE and HDPE, which indicate significant increases of 76% and 42%, respectively. Meanwhile, PVC saw the fastest rate of contraction at 10%.


Overall PP imports in 2019 hit a record high at 1,549,160 tons, up by around 12% from 2018. Cumulative PP imports have been growing steadily since 2013, according to ChemOrbis Stats Wizard.

Homo-PP imports into the EU28 witnessed a yearly increase of 15% in 2019 at around 1.2 million tons. Total PP copolymer imports to the EU28 also rose by 3% on the year to around 342,110 tons. 2019 imports for both grades marked the highest figures since 2001.


In 2019, overall PE imports rose by 22% on the year to around 4.2 million tons, the highest figure since 2001.

Total LDPE imports in the EU28 rose marginally by around 4% on the year to 643,230 tons while they indicate a decrease of more than 8% from the peak in 2017.

HDPE imports for the full year of 2019 hit a record high at 1,8 million tons, indicating an increase of 42% from 2018.

On the other hand, LLDPE imports were down by 11% on the year to around 1 million tons. This also stands nearly 15% below record high imports of 2017.

However, mLLDPE imports surged 76% from 2018 to 792,290 tons.


The EU’s overall PET imports, including bottle and textile grades, rose by 29% on the year to hit a record high level at 1.3 million tons.


Overall PS imports posted an increase of around 21% on the year to reach 231,970 tons. Still, this is down by 11% from the peak in 2007.

EPS imports were significantly up by 39% from 2018 to reach 112,790 tons. Cumulative GPPS and HIPS imports were up by more than 8% on the year at 119,170 tons while they still stand 30% below record high imports in 2014.


ABS imports to the EU28 dropped by more than 6% on the year to be reported at 231,320 tons, marking the fastest contraction since 2011.


Total PVC imports to the EU28 in 2019 decreased more than 10% on the year to almost 510,000 tons. PVC imports were at a record high at 568,540 tons in 2018, meanwhile.

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