Canadian Plastics

U.S. plastics exports showed robust growth in 2008: SPI

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Economy Plastics Industry Economic Changes/Forecast

Despite a weak fourth quarter, U.S. plastics exports showed robust growth in 2008, with U.S. plastics expo...

Despite a weak fourth quarter, U.S. plastics exports showed robust growth in 2008, with U.S. plastics exports breaking the $50 billion barrier for the first time.

The figures are part of the 2008 Global Business Trends report, a new study just issued by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI).

While exports during the fourth quarter of 2008 were down 23 per cent from the prior quarter and down 12 per cent from the same quarter in 2007, the report concluded that overall exports increased by 6.7 per cent for the year.


“Although trade barriers remain to accessing a number of overseas markets, U.S. plastics remain competitive and highly desired in the international marketplace,” the report said. “However, domestic shipments in 2008 declined just under one per cent, as the recession began to take its toll on plastics consumption in the United States.”

The report also noted that U.S. plastics exports reached $51 billion, accounting for approximately 4.4 per cent of total U.S. exports in 2008. “Imports meanwhile increased by a more modest 3.0 per cent in 2008 to just under $39 billion,” the report said.

Approximately one-fifth of the total value of U.S. plastics produced in the United States in 2008 was exported to overseas markets, the study said. In the case of plastics machinery, this figure rises to more than 50 per cent, and approximately 40 per cent of the resins and raw materials produced in the U.S. are destined for other markets.

Canada and Mexico remain the country’s largest plastics trading partners, SPI said, accounting for slighttly more than 42 per cent of U.S. plastics exports in 2008. China is the industry’s third largest export market. However, the industry had its largest trade deficit with China: $5.2 billion in 2008.

“Despite the significant decline in exports during the fourth quarter, the 2008 trade data show that the U.S. plastics industry was more competitive than ever,” said SPI senior director for International Trade and Trade Counsel Neil Pratt. “And while exports have remained significantly down in 2009, plastics exports through July have shown steady increases for six straight months, rebounding more than 30 percent from their January 2009 low.”

SPI’s 2008 Global Business Trends report is free to SPI members, government agencies and academic institutions. It is available for purchase at the Plastics E-Store. Visit this link for more information.





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