NPRA '09: China chems demand may fall in Q2 - Samsung Total

30 March 2009 00:04  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--Chemicals demand from China could fall in the second quarter, creating further difficulties for suppliers, a South Korean producer said on Sunday.

“We have to be very reactive,” Samsung Total Petrochemicals’ senior vice president, base chemicals export and purchasing, Jean-Baptiste Roques said.

Consumer confidence in North America and Europe, the important export markets for China goods, remained depressed, he suggested, and could have a further negative impact on China demand growth.

The market was currently buoyed by distributor and trader buying activity on the back of higher naphtha prices and the positive impact of economic stimulus packages.

The China market had expanded through the first quarter with Samsung Total Petrochemicals and some of its competitors in Korea operating at full capacity, Roques said on the sidelines of the 34th National Petroleum & Refiners Association (NPRA) International Petrochemical Conference.

But the future remained particularly uncertain, he warned, with new capacities coming on-stream in the Middle East and China capacities scheduled for start-up later in the year.

Samsung Total Petrochemicals is a major supplier of styrene monomer to the China market.

“We have to be flexible,” Roques said. “And we are working more and more on a day to day basis.”

Samsung Total Petrochemicals had, he said, found new ways to optimise operations through the sharp slump in demand late last year and earlier this year.

The market could turn in the wrong direction, he warned, creating difficult second and third quarters for the industry in northeast Asia. “We have to be prepared for anything,” Roques said.

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By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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