19 June 2013 17:56 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--Despite the unusually cold weather, which severely hampered activity in the European expandable polystyrene (EPS) market, both exports and imports managed to rise in March, according to data released this week by Eurostat.
Imports registered an increase from 2,613 tonnes in February to 2,727 tonnes in March, while exports rose from 8,049 tonnes in February to 9,408.
Short-term fluctuations in trade flows can be quite large. Perhaps more significantly, the data for the first quarter of 2013 reveal that the volume of exports, at 25,546 tonnes, was 26% greater than it had been in the same period of 2012, worth approximately €41.38m to European producers.
The statistics do not break down the totals by country of destination in the case of exports, or country of origin for imports.
As the data cover the European Union, it is not too fanciful to speculate that a substantial part of the growth in exports could be accounted for by sales to Turkey, which is an increasingly significant neighbouring market that lies outside the EU.
The Eurostat figures also show that imports from outside the continent into the EU were down by almost one-half, comparing Q1 2013 with Q1 2012. The volume declined from 16,589 tonnes to 8,737 tonnes.
As the EPS market is closely linked to the construction industry, and therefore subject to the vicissitudes of the weather, the first quarter of the year is usually the low season for activity. Traditionally, when demand is strong in Europe, imports, mainly from China, are drawn into the market. The low amount of imports, especially in relation to total European capacity, probably also demonstrates the continuing lack of vitality in the market.
($1 = €0.75)
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