India’s plastic exports topped $1.1 billion in December 2023, while dropping short of topping the $1 billion-mark in January 2024 with a substantial expansion in shipments across a wide range of product categories.

The Plastic Export Promotion Council (Plexconcil) said in a statement that in December 2023 plastics exports were worth $1.12 billion, an increase of 12.7 per cent from $989 million in December 2022. In January 2024, exports totalled $916 million, up 5 per cent from the $873 million a year ago.

In December, there was a significant uptick in various product categories, including consumer and houseware products, plastic films and sheets, plastic raw materials, fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) and composites. Floorcoverings, laminates, medical items, flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBC), woven sacks, woven fabrics, tarpaulin, plastic pipes and fittings, and packaging items (flexible, rigid), were the other products in demand. 

Sectors facing problems

However, some sectors such as cordage, fishnets, monofilaments and writing instruments and stationery face problems, the council said. 

Plexconcil Chairman Hemant Minocha said exports of consumer and houseware products witnessed a 139 per cent growth in December 2023. This was primarily due to higher sales of tableware and kitchenware of plastics, wallets, purses and similar articles, safety headgear and sunglasses. 

Exports of plastic medical items continued to perform well in December with shipments rising by 10.8 per cent in December 2023 due to increased sales of contact lenses, spectacles and goggles, and syringes, with or without needles, he said.  

Rising Indian influence

“Notably, India reported its highest-ever monthly export of spectacles and goggles in December 2023,” Minocha said, adding that export of plastic pipes and fittings increased by 16.1 per cent due to higher sales of rigid tubes and pipes of polyethylene, polymers of vinyl chloride, and fittings like joints, elbows and flanges of plastics for pipes.

In January 2024, a wide range of products, including plastic films and sheets, plastic raw materials, FIBC, woven sacks, woven fabrics, tarpaulin; floorcoverings, laminates, consumer and houseware products witnessed good demand.

Other products that saw their exports rise were packaging items — flexible, rigid, FRP and composites, medical items of plastics, plastic pipes and fittings.  

Minocha said, “The export growth in December and January reflects the increasing influence of India on the global economy. The past two months have given us a clear-cut indication of the increasing demand from global markets, and we aim to sustain this momentum throughout 2024.”  

In January, there was a surge in decorative laminate exports to Thailand, the Netherlands, and Spain. FRP and composites exports also increased significantly, recording a growth of 12.1 per cent in January 2024. Human hair and related products exports increased by 44.6 per cent in January 2024 due to higher sales of human hair, dressed, thinned, and bleached to China, he said.

Mr. Sribash Dasmohapatra, Executive Director of Plexconcil, said, “Primary purchasers of Indian plastic products are the US, Europe, and the UAE.”