China’s plastics imports peaks to all time highs :45% growth in 2009

China imported approximately 1,495,000 tons of polymers in December, according to statistics revealed by China’s Customs. After the steep decrease of imports witnessed in October, there was a slight rebound in November, traced by a larger increase in December, as per Chemorbis. Overall imports rose by 33% in December vs October, when 1,124,000 tons of imports were reported with a 30% decrease from September. Accordingly, earlier slumps were compensated in December and imports surged back to August-September levels of 2009. The total amount of imported cargoes reached 17,118,042 tons during 2009, which is an all time high figure according to the past 8 years data since total polymer imports of China hovered around 11,000,000 and 13,000,000 tons per year between 2001 and 2008. When compared to 2008, the 2009 figure represents a growth of 45%. This surge is right in line with the 10.7% GDP growth in Q4-2009, which exceeded the general expectations. The country’s economy also grew by 8.7% according to its annual GDP. When looking at import statistics by product, Homo PP imports grew by 15% in December to 373,000 tons when compared to the prior month. The total homo PP imports were also reported to have reached above 4,000,000 tons, hitting an all time record high as homo PP imports hovered around 2-3 million tons per year between 2001 and 2008, according to the ChemOrbis statistics. South Korea had the largest stake in 2009 homo PP imports of China with a figure of more than 1,115,000 tons. The next largest stake belongs to Taiwan with almost half of the South Korean imports, followed by United States and Saudi Arabia. Likewise, overall HDPE imports also posted an all time record high in 2009 with the figure hitting above 3,858,000 tons. It indicates an increase of 66% when compared to the overall imports of 2008. As it is the case in homo PP, South Korea overtook any other country with almost 860,000 tons of imports during last year. It was tracked by the US with an import figure of 495,000 tons while Iran and Saudi Arabia were marked as the next largest HDPE suppliers to China with 340,000 and 380,000 tons of imports respectively. LLDPE imports surged 50% in 2009 on a year over year basis, as well. It also surpassed the total imports reported since 2001, which averaged around 1,300,000 tpa. Saudi Arabia had the largest share in imports last year with 381,000 tons, followed closely by the United States and Singapore. When looking at LDPE, there is a sparkling jump of 90% in overall 2009 imports with a figure of 1,347,011 tons on a year over year basis. Nevertheless, it is still not a record based on the past eight years data. PVC imports, which had been steadily falling since August, bounced back up in December to around 100,000 tons. Although it was a big jump of 50% when compared to November, it failed to catch the pre-August levels. China imported 1,629,923 tons of PVC in 2009, more than 391,000 tons of which came from Japan having the biggest share of imports. This was followed by Taiwan and US with close figures. In addition, even though there was a year over year increase in the total PVC imports to China, they did not register a record last year. Interestingly, PS imports did not mark a noticeable change in 2009. The country imported 1,107,000 tons of PS in total throughout last year, which represents a very slight increase from the year before while 1,200,000-1,300,000 tons of cargoes used to be imported between 2001 and 2006. Meanwhile, Taiwan exported more than 343,000 tons of PS to China, having the largest stake.
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