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AnalysisSSESSMENTS: China’s Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Imports Decline, Iran’s Share Shrinks As US Expands


Based on the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) seen by SSESSMENTS.COM, China's low-density polyethylene (LDPE) imports declined moderately by 5.36% in Q1 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. The imports decreased from 254,344 tons in January 2022 to 222,301 tons in January 2023, which is a drop of 12.60%. However, the imports reached 233,010 tons in February 2023, indicating a slight rise of 2.27% from 227,847 tons in February 2022. In March 2023, the imports were 281,301 tons, indicating a slight decrease of 5.00% from 296,117 tons in March 2022.

The imports also fluctuated on a month-on-month basis, with January showing a negative change of 10.52% from December 2022, while February and March showed positive monthly changes of 4.82% and 20.72%, respectively. Market sources told SSESSMENTS.COM that the sharp increase of more than 20% in March was related to the seasonal demand. “March is the beginning of spring which means that it is agriculture season. Therefore, LDPE demand for agriculture purposes was higher.” Quarterly LDPE import volume was down 5.60% from 780,298 tons in Q4 2022.

In Q1 2023, Iran remained the top supplier of LDPE to China, but its share decreased from 25.02% to 18.55% in Q1 2022. Iran's LDPE shipments to China fell from 194,727 tons in Q1 2022 to 136,634 tons in Q1 2023. Meanwhile, the United States rose from the fourth to the second-largest supplier of LDPE to China, increasing its share from 10.14% to 14.38%. On a volume basis, China’s imports of US LDPE climbed from 78,883 tons to 105,901 tons over the period. China’s overall PE imports from the US soared in Q1, with market participants attributing the surge to competitive freight costs and the ease in arranging shipments for the cargoes.

Qatar also increased its share of LDPE supply to China, making it the third-largest supplier. The Gulf country supplied 88,039 tons of LDPE to China, taking 11.95% of the market compared to 59,830 tons and a 7.69% share a year earlier. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, descended from third to fourth place, supplying 87,020 tons in Q1 2023 with a market share of 11.81%, shrinking from 104,151 tons and a 13.38% share a year ago.

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Published on May 10, 2023 3:15 PM (GMT+8)
Last Updated on May 10, 2023 4:11 PM (GMT+8)