According to a new report by IndexBox, American imports of polyethylene films steadily grew during the last decade, surpassing $1.7 billion in 2020. The U.S. has nearly doubled polyethylene film purchases, increasing supplies from 281,000 to 512,000 tonnes. Approximately 54% of American polyethylene film imports come from Canada, and a further 15% is supplied from China and Mexico. The average import price for polyethylene films imported to the U.S. decreased by -4.1% y-o-y to $3,318 per tonne in 2020.

U.S. Polyethylene Film Imports by Country

Non-cellular polyethylene film imports into the U.S. expanded markedly to 513,000 tonnes in 2020, surging by 9.5% against the year before. In general, total imports indicated a substantial expansion from 2010 to 2020: Its volume increased at an average annual rate of +6.2% over the last decade. In value terms, non-cellular polyethylene film imports grew modestly to $1.7 billion (IndexBox estimates) in 2020.

Overall, total imports indicated a remarkable increase over the last decade: their value increased at an average annual rate of +6.2% from 2010 to 2020. In 2020, Canada (278,000 tonnes) constituted the largest supplier of non-cellular polyethylene film to the U.S., accounting for a 54% share of total imports. Moreover, non-cellular polyethylene film imports from Canada exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest supplier, China (43,000 tonnes), sevenfold. Mexico (34,000 tonnes) occupied the third position in this ranking with a 6.6% share.

During the last decade, the average annual growth rate of volume from Canada stood at +4.6%. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: China (+8.1% per year) and Mexico (+16.1% per year). In value terms, Canada ($920 million) constituted the largest supplier of non-cellular polyethylene film to the U.S., comprising 54% of total imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by China ($124 million), with a 7.3% share of total imports, and it was followed by Mexico, with a 4.7% share.

The average non-cellular polyethylene film import price stood at $3,318 per tonne in 2020, decreasing by -4.1% against the previous year. Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin — the country with the highest price was Germany ($4,515 per tonne), while the price for imports from Brazil ($1,693 per tonne) was amongst the lowest. From 2010 to 2020, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Malaysia, while the prices of the other significant suppliers declined.

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