Meanwhile, demand in all applications remains healthy in March, offsetting the decline in protective sheets.
PMMA EU imports increased in 2020 despite the disruptions in shipping that pushed freight rates up and increased delivery times.
The latest trade data from Eurostat shows that in December imports from South Korea were higher compared to last year.
However, while South Korea is by far the largest trading partner with the EU, there was a noticeable jump in imports from Saudi Arabia.
But volumes from South Korea remain substantially higher compared to other trading partners.
The total yearly figures show a clear increase in imports compared to 2018 and 2019.
While imports increased, disruptions in the shipping market in 2H 2020 caused much delays and a spike in transport costs, a trend that continues in Q1 2021.
Despite many obstacles, the surge in demand for protective sheets could explain the higher imports compared to previous years.
However, in the last few months of 2020, volumes have been more aligned to previous years, perhaps a sign of a slowdown in demand for protective sheets.
Moreover, demand for this application has almost stopped in March as lockdowns continue across Europe.
Nevertheless, overall demand for PMMA is healthy and aligned with the rest of the polymer industry. And seasonal trends could lend more support in the spring as activity increases in the construction sector.