Brazil's imports of chemical raw materials for plastics increased 24.2% in the first 10 months of the year to US$2.31bn from US$1.86bn in the same period last year, plastics industry association Abiplast said.
Exports fell 10.9% to US$1.63bn from US$1.83bn. The trade deficit surged to US$683mn from US$33.5mn, Abiplast said, based on data from the ministry of trade.
Brazil's chemical market has been flooded by cheaper imports, especially of chemical products that are manufactured using feedstock from shale gas in the US.
In 2012, Brazil imposed higher duties on a number of chemical imports, including polyethylene (PE), but at the beginning of October this year it withdrew these higher duties.
In October, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) imports surged by 98.6% from September to US$25.2mn, linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) imports rose 73.9% to US$59.2mn, and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) imports were up 65% to US$50.4mn.
In the first 10 months of the year, Brazil's imports of LDPE increased 27.6% to US$179mn, imports of LLDPE were up 21.1% to US$481mn, while imports of HDPE rose 25.6% to US$393mn.
Brazil's imports of polystyrene (PS) increased 45% to US$60.4mn and expanded polystyrene (EPS) imports were up 55% to US$79.0mn.
Polypropylene (PP) imports rose 22.4% to US$417mn, while imports of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) were up 20.3% to US$474mn. Imports of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) increased 33.6% to US$184mn.
Exports of PP fell 16.6% to US$440mn, slashing Brazil's trade surplus in PP to US$23.6mn from US$187mn in the first 10 months of 2012.
In October this year, Brazil recorded a trade deficit of US$0.2mn in PP compared to a surplus of US$15.4mn in September.