EU imports of polyethylene terephthalate during the first four months of the year saw a sharp increase of 30% compared with January-April 2015, the latest Eurostat data showed.
The EU imported 353,279 mt of PET between January and April, compared with 271,008 mt in the same period last year. Although PET imports stood at 90,514 mt in April, little changed from March’s volume of 90,873 mt.
India accounted for the bulk of the aggregated increased imports, as exporters from the country benefited from a lifting of EU duties. Indian PET inflows into EU totalled 65,493 mt in Jan-Apr, an increase of nearly 13 times from the volume of 4,266 mt in the same period last year. However, Indian imports fell by a nearly third to 10,686 mt in April, compared to 15,950 mt in the previous month.
South Korea remained the market leader in exporting to the EU, having shipped a total of 104,176 mt in the first four months, up 32% year-on-year.
Nevertheless, imports from South Korea had a monthly decrease of around 14% to 23,022 mt.
A consistent flow of imports from South Korea together with lackluster demand had contributed in weakening the European PET market during the past few months. However, some market participants said the European PET prices were now finding support amid an uptick in buying interest and delays in shipments from Asia.
Meanwhile, with a relative geographical advantage, PET imports from Turkey continued thriving and increased by nearly 50% year-on-year to 74,690 mt during Jan-Apr. In contrast to the other major exporting countries, Turkish exports to the EU also grew by around 10% month-on-month to 22,675 mt in April.
Turkish exports had been supported by new plants commencing operations in Turkey in 2015. Notably, Indorama began operating its 252,000 mt/year PET plant in Corlu and its 130,000 mt/year plant in Adana.