UK container glass imports and exports declined on weak demand

February 23, 2024

2 mins read

UK imports of colourless glass fell 31.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) in November 2023 (latest available data), according to data from HM Revenue and Customs and Mintec calculations, while exports decreased by 20.9% over the same period. As can be seen from the chart below, UK imports and exports have been in a steady downtrend for over a year.

Much of this trend is due to demand weakening over the past year, as the price of gas (a key production cost for glass) corrected to significantly lower levels, compared to the peak following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Persistently high interest rates have also had a restrictive impact on buyers’ ability to procure glass product. At the time of writing, interest rates in the UK are 5.25%, compared to 0.1% in 2021. Market sources have noted that buyers are increasingly substituting container glass for plastic bottles, which are significantly cheaper and lighter.

Blog header - UK container glass imports and exports declined on weak demand
Source: HM Revenue and Customs, Mintec calculations
*bottles of colourless glass, of a kind used for commercial conveyance or packing of foodstuffs and beverages, of a nominal capacity of >0,33 l but <1 l

For reference, the Mintec Benchmark Prices (MBP) for clear UK medium food jar (275g-400g) was assessed at £559.97/MT in January, down 1.3% month-on-month (m-o-m), representing an 11.1% y-o-y decrease.

Although the market sentiment is predominantly bearish, market players stated that the potential for cuts to interest rates in the coming months may spark a rise in buying interest in the UK container glass market. Future interest rate cuts, sources say, would increase buyers’ borrowing power and ability to procure product.

For further insight sign up for early access to our H1 Industrial Materials 2024 eBook. Equip your business with strategic intelligence to navigate a challenging industrial materials market. This eBook delves into high-level macroeconomic trends, industry impacts, and the reflection of these dynamics on industrial commodity prices.

Andrew Woods
Andrew Woods

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