Japan’s ethylene output exceeds 600,000 tonnes again in October

20 November 2009 12:15  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS news)--Japan’s production of ethylene increased 19% year on year to 631,400 tonnes in October, exceeding the 600,000-tonne mark for the third consecutive month, official data from the Japan Petrochemical Industry Association (JPCA) showed on Friday.

This was, however, down 0.3% from the previous month, according to the JPCA.

The average operating rate of the country’s naphtha crackers was 94% in October, up from 89% in October 2008, and down from 95% in September this year, the JPCA said.

No cracker was shut for a maintenance turnaround in October or September 2009, while one cracker was undergoing a turnaround in October 2008, according to the association.

From January to October 2009, Japan produced 5.62m tonnes of ethylene, down 3.8% from the corresponding period last year, the JPCA said.

Among 17 commodity chemicals other than ethylene, 11 products - including low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), styrene monomer (SM), vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and acrylonitrile (ACN) - recorded higher output in October compared with the same period last year, the association said.

Of these chemicals, ACN had the highest increase at 38% year on year to 57,900 tonnes, according to the JPCA.

On a month-on-month basis, output of nine products - including LDPE, HDPE, PP, styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), toluene and xylene - rose as plants operated for more days in October and maintenance turnarounds were smaller in scale, the association said.  

Of the four primary resins - LDPE, HDPE, PP and polystyrene (PS) - domestic shipments of HDPE showed the highest growth rate, totalling 79,600 tonnes in October, up 5% year on year, according to the JPCA.

However, domestic shipments of PS fell 20% month on month to 55,300 tonnes in October, the association said.

Exports of all four resins significantly increased year on year in October, with HDPE nearly three times higher at 14,700 tonnes, the JPCA said.   

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By: Tomomi Yokomura
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