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PC Imports From China Decreased In 2020

November 11, 2020
The declines in imports from China are reflecting the divergent market dynamics in 2020 between the two trading blocks.

PC imports from China decreased in 2020 compared to 2019, with volumes lower every month to August, according to Eurostat trade data.

The latest data from Eurostat shows that polycarbonate (PC) imports from China are lower every month in 2020 compared to 2019.

trade data of PC exports from China to Europe

The decrease reflects the difference in market dynamics between the two trading blocks in 2020.

Moreover, this decline happened amid a substantial increase in capacity in China in 2020.

China added PC capacity during the past few years. And it is expected to continue to do so in the future.

With healthy demand and lower prices in Europe, Chinese companies are not pressed to enter the European PC market.

And it is unlikely that this pattern will change in the near future, certainly not in 2021.

Moreover, the total volumes are not significant compared to other major trading partners such as South Korea.

But PC volumes coming from China are certainly interesting to European players given the increases in capacities in China.

China has seen a strong surge in demand for polycarbonate in 2020. This is in contrast with Europe which has been badly hit by the pandemic.

But since the summer, the market is normalising in Europe and prices are catching up.

However, Chinese companies will likely continue to struggle to export PC to Europe. This is due to tariffs and persistent lower prices in Europe.

Even if the European PC market stabilizes, it is unlikely that there will be an influx of PC from China any time soon.

As seen in many other polymers, in order to attract European buyers, prices will have to be substantially lower than domestic prices.

For now, PC prices in Asia remain above European prices. And the strong demand in China will probably absorb the extra capacities.