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US PE exports fall 12.5% YOY in Jan-Apr 2021

June 11/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US polyethylene (PE) exports in the first four months of 2021 were 12.5% lower than the January-April period of 2020, reflecting continued fallout from a deep freeze in February that forced weeks-long production shutdowns, according to S&P Global with reference to US International Trade Commission data June 9.

The US shipped out 1.846 million mt of PE in the January-April period, down from 2.11 million mt in the year-ago span, the data showed.

Production sharply curtailed by freeze-related shutdowns has largely rebounded, but the data reflects a lengthy recovery. Many force majeures on PE declared during the freeze remain in effect as producers race to meet strong demand in US and international markets while trying to restock inventories.

"We continue to see demand strength coupled with constrained inventory levels as the industry manages the backlog of customer orders and supply pressures from the impact of" the February freeze, Dow Chemical CEO Jim Fitterling said at a June 3 conference.

At the height of coronavirus pandemic-related shutdowns in the US in April 2020, some producers cut rates or shut down plants in response to reduced demand. But PE demand in domestic and international markets was more resilient than that for resins used to make more durable plastics.

The US exported 1.834 million mt of PE in the first four months of 2019, when there was no freeze or pandemic-related shutdowns, down 0.6% from January-April 2021 outflows, ITC data show.

As MRC informed earlier, for PE, IHS Markit was assuming outages affect all Texas and western Louisiana facilities. "We currently assume that 88% of all US PE capacity is offline and will be so until this weekend at the earliest," IHS Markit said in H2 February, 2021. "We are assuming that upstream supply of key feedstocks for ethylene production, like ethane gas, are also experiencing issues as well as the actual ethylene crackers themselves."

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 744,130 tonnes in the first four month of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Category:General News
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