Asian ethylene-based EA makers eye plant restarts

26 November 2008 04:01  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Ethylene-based ethyl acetate producers in northeast Asia are expected to resume operations at idled plants in December and January as margins improved following recent sharp decline in feedstock ethylene values, despite weak demand, company officials said on Wednesday.


Korea Alcohol Industrial Company plans to resume operations at its 25,000 tonne/year ethylene-based ethyl acetate plant at Ulsan, South Korea next month after being idle for almost two years due to poor economics.


But operating rates at its other 50,000 tonne/year esterification ethyl acetate/butyl acetate swing plant, meanwhile, would be cut to 50% from 70% given ample supply to meet the soft demand.


“As ethylene prices are low now, we are trying to start up our plant in December,” a company official said.


Spot ethylene values plunged 77.6% from July highs to fresh five year lows at around $400/tonne cost and freight (CFR) NE Asia at the close of business last Friday, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS Pricing.


Ethyl acetate spot prices, meanwhile, hovered at two-and-a-half year lows of $710-780/tonne CFR NE Asia at the same period amid weak demand and abundant supply.


In Taiwan, Lee Chang Yung Chemical Industry Corporation plans to take its 50,000 tonne/year plant in Linyuan onstream in January and not sooner due to lingering supply overhang in the domestic market.


“We are planning to restart our plant but Taiwan is currently flushed with ethyl acetate stocks from southeast Asia and China and it would take till end January for the cargoes to be absorbed,” a company official said in Mandarin.


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By: Helen Lee
+65 6780 4359

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