China’s PE import market declines

Economic growth

SHARE THIS STORY

China PE Mar13.pngChina’s polyethylene demand has proved an excellent forward indicator of economic policy. So far, however, the usual data on China’s own production has not been yet been published in 2013. Today, therefore, the blog is instead focusing on trade analysis, based on Global Trade Information Services data. This provides important insight into commercial developments:

The left hand chart shows net imports (red column) in January-February
• These have fallen 3% versus 2012 (green), with imports down 4% and exports down 18%
• ME net imports are down 7%, NAFTA down 28%; NEA are up 22%, SEA up 4%, EU up 15%

The right hand chart shows average prices in US$/tonne
• In the commodity market, NEA (red line) has held prices to gain volume; SEA prices (green) have increased in 2013 v 2012 to NEA levels, and ME prices (blue) have also increased
• NAFTA (brown) and Europe (purple) are meanwhile clearly abandoning the commodity market, to instead compete in higher margin niche areas

Individual country developments are also interesting. Iran’s volume is surging, up 9% over 2012 to 175kt. Saudi remains the leading importer with 210kt, but its volume has dropped 18% versus 2012. US volumes have been badly hit, down 34% v 2012 at 59kt.

This change in volume is clearly being driven by pricing policy. Saudi have supplied at an average $1359/t this year, and Qatar at $1364/t versus Iran at $1377/t. The US is meanwhile at $1736/t, whilst the Netherlands is at $1538/t.

The data highlights how China’s market is becoming much more competitive. It also confirms the blog’s February conclusion that overall market growth is likely to remain very low. This means US producers will face a tough battle with ME and Asian producers if they want to place their planned new volumes in China.

PREVIOUS POST

Drug supplies cut to Greece as capital controls return to Europe

03/04/2013

China’s polyethylene demand has proved an excellent forward indicator of e...

Learn more
NEXT POST

Companies warn on Q2 earnings outlook

06/04/2013

China’s polyethylene demand has proved an excellent forward indicator of e...

Learn more
More posts
US-China trade war confirms political risk is now a key factor for companies and the economy
12/05/2019

There are few real surprises in life, and President Trump’s decision to launch a full-scale tr...

Read
Uber’s $91bn IPO marks the top for today’s debt-fuelled stock markets
28/04/2019

Uber’s IPO next month is set to effectively “ring the bell” at the top of the post...

Read
The End of “Business as Usual”
21/04/2019

In my interview for Real Vision earlier this month, (where the world’s most successful invest...

Read
Most businesses were nowhere near Ready for Brexit last Friday – we mustn’t make the same mistake again
14/04/2019

Thank goodness for backbench MPs and the European Union. Without their efforts, the UK would by now ...

Read
Don’t get carried away by Beijing’s stimulus
07/04/2019

Residential construction work in Qingdao, China. Government stimulus is unlikely to deliver the econ...

Read
Businesses thrilled by Brexit uncertainty: “It’s exhilarating” says small business owner
01/04/2019

With the European Commission saying that a No Deal is now “likely“, small businesses acr...

Read
Ageing Perennials set to negate central bank stimulus as recession approaches
10/03/2019

The world’s best leading indicator for the global economy is still firmly signalling recession...

Read
BASF prepares its UK supply chain for Brexit
24/02/2019

BASF has been working with Ready for Brexit (the online platform I co-founded last year) as part of ...

Read

Market Intelligence

ICIS provides market intelligence that help businesses in the energy, petrochemical and fertilizer industries.

Learn more

Analytics

Across the globe, ICIS consultants provide detailed analysis and forecasting for the petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets.

Learn more

Specialist Services

Find out more about how our specialist consulting services, events, conferences and training courses can help your teams.

Learn more

ICIS Insight

From our news service to our thought-leadership content, ICIS experts bring you the latest news and insight, when you need it.

Learn more