First half US HDPE exports fall 7% year over year

11 August 2010 21:45  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US high density polyethylene (HDPE) exports were 895,119 tonnes in the first half of 2010, down 63,536 tonnes or 7% from the same period a year earlier, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) said on Wednesday.

However, June HDPE exports were 128,956 tonnes, up 17,727 tonnes or 16% from the previous month.

US HDPE exports to most Latin American markets increased year-over-year, but that was not enough to offset a sharp drop in shipments to China.

Chinese demand for US HDPE peaked at 89,790 tonnes in June 2009. A year later, that trade dropped to a mere 2,610 tonnes in June.

China was not even in the top ten countries for US HDPE exports in June 2010.

Traders said the trend of lower polyethylene (PE) exports to Asia was likely to continue as Middle East producers competed for market share in the region.

Depending on whether new Middle East capacity started up and operated smoothly, US PE producers could seek to re-enter the Asia market at the end of 2010, a source said.

Currently, US Gulf suppliers had little inventory for immediate shipment, which could indicate they are hoarding supplies ahead of the peak in the hurricane season, the source added.

Linear low density PE (LLDPE) exports in June were 51,133 tonnes, down from 56,362 tonnes a year earlier.

Low density PE (LDPE) exports in June were 50,208 tonnes compared with May exports of 53,414 tonnes and June 2009 exports of 70,644 tonnes.

Traders said LDPE availability was extremely tight, and prices were higher for the limited quantities available.

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By: David Barry
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