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Polyethylene Exports from the US Decline by 21% in February Due to Freeze-Fallout

Polyethylene Exports from the US Decline by 21% in February Due to Freeze-Fallout

  • 08-Apr-2021 12:00 PM
  • Journalist: Robert Hume

As per the latest stats from US Commerce Department, the US polyethylene (PE) exports dropped from 937.5 KT in January to 742 KT tons in February 2021. The impact of Arctic freeze which took place in the second half of February are clearly visible in the country’s latest trade data.

The biggest dip in export volumes has been witnessed for Asia with China at the forefront, showing nearly 50% drop in its February shipments over the month of January. Export volumes to China stood around 69,000 MT which was around half of what was shipped in January. Exports to Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, showed a combined fall of 69,510 MT in the same month.

As per the data, contrary to the trend in Asia, Brazil became the largest importer of Polyethylene shipments in February, showing nearly 5% increase on monthly basis and it became the second largest destination for PE exports from the US. While Mexico which is the largest US PE imported around 111, 880 MT in Feb. 2021, with values showing a sink of nearly 12% on month-on-month basis.

Country's Polypropylene (PP) industry also faced a major blow due to the winter storms. US’ PP import volumes dived to a five-month low, down by about 18% from January. However, some traders have expressed likelihood of restored inflows of PP cargoes in April.

As per ChemAnalyst, “Since the past few years, US PE manufacturers are heavily dependent on exports, with around 33% of the sales figure coming from the export volumes. While PE export volumes maintained a downtrend in March, April is likely to see some relaxation in terms of market supply.

The country’s LDPE/LLDPE/HDPE stocks are likely to priced higher even in April with market sources underlining prevailing tightness as the key price driver. US exports to the Asian markets are likely to remain tight due to strong local demand, although more plants have resumed production March onwards.”

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