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Insight | Time: Jan 29 2023 3:14PM  Editor:Dilys Wang
China's PSF imports from Southeast Asia and Africa in 2022
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In Dec, 2022, PSF exports of China were 87,300 tons, down 4.1% year on year and up 2.5% month on month, and imports were 5,900 tons, down 50% year on year and 21.3% month on month.  PSF imports totaled 89kt in 2022, down 45% from 2021 and exports amounted to 996kt, up 7.3%.


Due to large reduction of imports and trade flow of Africa shifting to Europe and U.S., this article may be not updated every month.



HS code 55032000 is synthetic staple fibers, of polyesters, not carded, including virgin PSF and recycled PSF. And the imports from Southeast Asia and African are mainly the recycled PSF. The following are the changes in recent years.


In 2022, imports from Southeast Asia hit a new low in recent three years, especially the imports from Vietnam, have declined significantly.



In the import origins of PSF, Myanmar appeared in 2017, and the overall imports were not much.  In 2019, one HC re-PSF production line in Hangzhou was moved to Myanmar, and has not started production till now. In 2020, imports declined sharply. In 2021, operation was unstable affected by the epidemic and Feb 1 coup, and the products mainly sold to Europe and the United States. Imports were only 378 tons in 2021, and in 2022, imports were zero.


Vietnam started to exert force in 2018. Following the solid waste ban, domestic plants moved to foreign countries gradually. Vietnam has gathered solid re-PSF and a few HC virgin PSF plants. Imports in 2018 soared to 13,113 tons and reached 30,567 tons in 2021. It was mainly attributed to the demand recovery, larger price spread between virgin PSF and recycled PSF and the speculative demand around the Lunar New Year.  In 2020, a few new plants engaged solid re-PSF put into operation, with a capacity of 50 tons per day, and the products are mainly delivered to China, so the monthly imports from Vietnam are higher year on year. In May 2021, Vietnam started the strict lock-down measures with the outbreak of epidemic. Till Sep, there were 729 tons imported, and 459 tons imported in Oct, the lowest level in recent two years.  With the relaxation of power rationing and control of epidemic, imports in Nov-Dec climbed up obviously to 2,000 tons. In addition, affected by surging sea freight, China-origin cheap fibers were hard to sell to Vietnam, and HC re-PSF sales were smooth in Vietnam. In Nov, 2022, it was heard that feedstock prices were relatively high, and re-PSF had no price edge to be exported to China. Local operating rate was not high overall.


From Jan, 2022, imports from Vietnam reduced largely, obviously lower than the same period of previous years every month. In 2022, imports amounted to 10,773 tons, down 64.8% year on year.


Imports from Thailand were 45kt in 2019, and then reduced gradually. The imports put certain impact on Guangdong market. There were still new capacities, including HC re-PSF, hollow PSF and colored yarn. A few plants started up in 2022. In 2022, imports were 17,208 tons.


In 2021, the imports from Cambodia were 1,261 tons. In 2022, imports were only 664 tons.


Imports from Southeast Asia were 98,390 tons in 2019, 78,779 tons in 2020, 76,245 tons in 2021 and 40,258 tons in 2022.


The African market has gradually risen in recent years, especially in 2018-2019, some domestic production lines have also been transferred to Africa. Therefore, the exports to China has increased rapidly from 2019. Imports in 2020 have grown by 28%, mainly from South Africa and Nigeria, but in 2021 imports from South Africa shrank sharply affected by the riots, which caused disruptions of plant operation. Imports from Nigeria in Mar 2021 were good, reaching 2,728 tons. But the imports from Africa were zero in the fourth quarter of 2021. In 2022, there were only imports from Uganda of 455 tons, mostly to Europe. Recycled PSF capacities continue to expand in Africa benefited from the edge in sea freight to Europe and no high tax.

China's PSF imports from Africa (incl. virgin PSF and re-PSF)
Unit: tons 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
South Africa 0 230 24 5586 6122 638 0
Nigeria 0 0 0 5667 9069 6397 0
Tanzania 0 0 0 643 0 0 0
Egypt 0 0 102 39 0 0 0
Ethiopia 0 0 0 0 98 0 0

Total 0 230 126 11935 15289 7035 455


Due to the trend of economic recession in Europe and the United States, exports are expected to be general in 2023, but Chinese supply pressure is greater, plants are actively seeking for exports, and exports are expected to increase slightly, slightly above the level of one million tons. Meanwhile, with the oversupplied situation in China, PSF imports are supposed to be hard to rise apparently in 2023.


In addition, some plants develop the RPET project with the development of food-grade RPET.

[RISK DISCLAIMER] All opinions, news, analysis, prices or other information contained on this report is provided by analyst of Zhejiang Huarui Information Consulting Co., Ltd (CCFGroup) as general market commentary and does not constitute investment advice. CCFGroup will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to, any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information.
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