Decline in US Scrap Exports, while Pulp Exports escalates

decline in US scrap exports

Image Source: More Than Shipping

According to the reports of Q1FY2020, while the decline in US scrap exports continues, the nation’s pulp exports goes high.

The latest trade data of the US Census Bureau revealed that the decline in US Scrap Exports is an extension of the famous export reduction of recycled commodities in 2019. The changing regulatory of scrap imports in overseas is the prime reason behind these continuously dropping recycled material shipments out of the US and increasing pulp exports.

The decline in US Exports of Recycled Paper

The first quarter of 2020 has noticed the lowest first-quarter exports in years. The amount of recovered fiber exported by US companies in the first quarter of three consecutive years is:

YearQuantity (in million short tons)
20204.01
20194.74
20184.93

The amount of recovered fiber imported by different countries from the US in the first quarter of FY2020:

CountryQuantity (in short tons)
China1,200,000
India747,000
Mexico309,000
Vietnam297,000
South Korea256,000
Taiwan252,000
Canada242,000
Indonesia157,000
Thailand126,000
Malaysia64,000
Source: Resource Recycling

China, the largest purchaser of the US recovered fiber, is believed to have driven the drop in the US recycled paper exports. The country has consistently brought down its imports from 2.11 million short tons in Q1FY2018, 1.49 million in Q1FY2019 to 1.20 million in Q1FY2020.

The decline in US Exports of Scrap Plastic

The amount of scrap plastic exported by US companies in the first quarter of three consecutive years is:

YearQuantity (in million pounds)
2020311
2019374
2018711

The amount of scrap plastic shipped out of the US to the top importing countries in the first quarter of FY2020:

CountryQuantity (in million pounds)
Canada81.3
Malaysia54
Hong Kong25
Vietnam25
Mexico21
Turkey16
South Korea11
Taiwan10
India10
Indonesia8
Source: Resource Recycling

The fall in the US scrap plastic exports is due to the implementation of a ban on plastic imports by major importing countries, like China and India.

China banned the sourcing of scrap plastic from abroad in 2018, bringing down the imported US scrap plastic figures from 324 million pounds in the first quarter of 2016 to 1 million pounds in the first quarter of the current year.

India announced a ban on imports of scrap plastic in the later part of 2019, reducing the US scrap plastic imports from 81 million pounds in the first quarter of 2019 to 10 million pounds during the same period this year.

The rise in US Exports of Recycled Paper Pulp

The amount of recycled paper pulp exported by US companies in the first quarter of three consecutive years is:

YearQuantity (in short tons)
202087,000
201950,000
201814,000

Again, China is believed to be the driving force behind this expansion of recycled pulp exports in the US. The country has accounted for 84% of the commodity imports during 2020. The Chinese paper companies are rapidly shifting to pulp and driving decline in US scrap exports due to the difficulty of moving unprocessed recovered fiber bales into the country.

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