APIC '09: China EDC imports may set new record this year

15 May 2009 10:39  [Source: ICIS news]

SEOUL (ICIS news)--China’s imports of ethylene dichloride (EDC) in 2009 may surpass last year’s record on the back of strong demand, traders and producers said on the sidelines of the 9th Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC ’09).

The country could take in at least 850,000 tonnes of EDC this year from 840,000 tonnes in 2008, they said.

Just in the first quarter, China’s EDC imports registered a 137% year-on-year increase to 280,000 tonnes.

Strong demand from the vinyls and non-vinyls sector was among the main factor driving the surge in EDC import volume, market sources said.

It was more economical for vinyls producers to import EDC rather than produce it because of high feedstock costs, market sources said.

Buyers from the non-vinlys sector also found it cheaper to use imported EDC as an alternative solvent to the usual the aromatics chemicals, they added.

But some market participants have doubts that the strong EDC imports into China could be sustained for the rest of the year.

Poor economics have forced EDC producers in the US to cut plants’ operating rates, limiting their export capacity.

Traders and some buyers have complained that there has been a dearth of spot deep-sea EDC cargoes from the US in recent weeks. The US was the biggest exporter of EDC into China last year, market sources said.

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By: Ng Hun Wei
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