China’s PMDI exports totaled 207,700 tonnes in January and February 2023, a year-on-year increase of 46.9%, according to the latest data from China Customs.
Figure: China PMDI Exports By Month 2021-2023 (tonnes)
Exports to Europe/Middle Eastern Countries Grew Remarkably
By countries, the United States remained China’s largest PMDI export destination in January and February (by export volume), with 47,338 tonnes of PMDI exported to U.S., a year-on-year increase of 21.5%, which took a 13.4% share. It is worth mentioning that China’s PMDI exports to Netherlands, Turkey and Russia during the same period increased more significantly, with year-on-year growth rates of 101%, 329% and 283% respectively.
Table: China’s Top 10 PMDI Export Destinations in January & February 2023
Since some MDI facilities in Europe have been overhauled/shut down, or cut outputs, the local supply of MDI has shrunk in recent months. One of the main reasons for output cuts was that European energy prices remained high. Some companies’ financial reports revealed that the costs of natural gas and utilities were still seven to ten times higher than those in North America although European energy prices declined. This unfavorable situation is hard to change in the next few years, and the decline in energy prices has more to do with Europe’s warm winter and industrial demand destruction. The other reason was the softening demand due to high inflations since last year. Although MDI suppliers claimed that their output reduction was to rebalance supply and demand in the European market, but the fact is that MDIs from Europe will be also supplied to the Middle East market, where the demand has been robust in recent months. Therefore, spot prices of PMDI in the European market still keep stable around EUR 2,200-2,300/tonne despite the current relatively soft demand. Besides, the market prices are projected to stabilize in a range of EUR 2,150-2,350/tonne in April, according to local market source.