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US July PE export volumes rise 1% to record from June
HOUSTON, September 5, 2018 (PCW) -- The US exported 1.224 billion pounds of PE in July, setting yet another record as suppliers turned to the export market to sell products from their new capacity along the Gulf Coast.
Data from the US Department of Commerce showed PE export volumes nearly doubling from two years ago, when new PE plants were still under construction by Dow, ExxonMobil, Chevron Phillips and the Ineos-Sasol.
PE export business has not been completely smooth sailing of late, thanks to uncertainty and new tariff barriers brought about by the Trump administration's trade policies.
China implemented 25% tariffs on US HDPE and LLDPE products that took effect on August 23.
The July export figures show shipments to China falling off 38 million pounds (-21%) to 145 million pounds as buyers pulled back from doing business with US PE manufacturers. The HDPE and LLDPE grades targeted by the Chinese tariffs amounted to 97 million pounds in July, down from 143 million pounds in June.
However, that decline was nearly offset by a 35-million-pound (52%) uptick in shipments to Brazil, which accounted for 102 million pounds of US PE exports in July.
Exports to Mexico and Canada were essentially flat in July.
Among the different grades of PE, HDPE export volumes declined 66 million pounds to 478 million pounds in July, while ethylene-alpha olefin copolymers such as metallocene catalyst-based LLDPE (mLLDPE) increased 87 million pounds to 417 million pounds.
Brazil and Belgium were the two largest destinations for US ethylene-alpha olefin copolymers, with July shipments totalling 63 and 98 million pounds, respectively. -- David Barry