08 June 2009 10:23 [Source: ICIS news]
TOKYO (ICIS news)--Idemitsu Kosan aims to raise the operating rate of its acrylic acid unit to 100% in July due to robust overseas demand for super absorbent polymer, a company official said on Monday.
“We are not sure if we’ll bring it to full rate on 1 July. It may be delayed a little, but we do want to do it because the situation is looking good,” the official said.
Idemitsu Kosan had been operating its 50,000 tonne/year acrylic acid unit at Aichi at less-than-full rates since January due to decreased demand from the automotive and IT sectors, the official said, without disclosing specific rates.
“It (the acrylic acid operation) was hit hard by the slump in the automobile industry since the [collapse of Lehman Brothers] in October 2008,” the official said.
While acrylic acid demand for use in super absorbent polymer was particularly robust for diapers, because the product was not affected by the economy, demand for automotive applications was still weak, the official said.
“But it’s gradually recovering. We are starting to see the light,” he said.
According to the official, half of the acrylic acid produced by the company is for use in super absorbent polymer.
Separately, the official said Idemitsu Kosan has not yet increased the operating rates of two of its naphtha crackers.
Last month, the company said it planned to increase the operating rates at its Chiba and Tokuyama crackers in June due to healthy olefins pricing and derivative demand.
However, the crackers’ rates have remained unchanged from May, the official said, without disclosing when they would be raised.
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