19 January 2010 11:35 [Source: ICIS news]
TOKYO (ICIS news)--Japan’s total production of polystyrene (PS) in 2009 decreased 16% year on year to 689,000 tonnes, with the record low output in the first quarter due to the slowdown in Japan’s economy, an industry association said on Tuesday.
In the three months of 2009, output decreased 44% year on year to 125,389 tonnes, the Japan Styrene Industry Association (JSIA) said in a statement in Japanese.
After production bottomed out in February, monthly PS production began to increase. But the total output for the April-June quarter was down 7% from the same period in 2008, according to JSIA.
In the third quarter, production of PS recovered and recorded a 1% year on year decline. But the total output for the fourth quarter decreased 7% from the corresponding period in 2008, the association said.
“One firm withdrew [from PS production] at the end of September, and [the number of PS producers] has become three from October,” JSIA said, without naming the companies.
In April 2009, Mitsui Chemicals and Sumitomo Chemical announced they would exit their PS joint venture and dissolve Japan Polystyrene.
Domestic shipments of PS significantly decreased for electric and industrial applications in 2009, while shipments for digital home appliances and office equipment, which had previously been the driving force of
Exports of PS for digital home appliances had been increasing since 2007, but exports started to decrease sharply in October 2008 and the trend continued into 2009, according to JSIA.
Exports of PS finally began to increase from the third quarter 2009 onward, the association added.
As a result, total exports of PS in 2009 fell 14% year on year to 31,957 tonnes, JSIA said.
PS production in December 2009 increased 8% year on year to 58,275 tonnes, while domestic shipments were up 8% to 52,490 tonnes from the same month in 2008, according to the association.
No PS production units in Japan were shut for turnarounds in December, the JSIA said.
Japan's exports of PS in December increased 46% year on year to 2,240 tonnes, the association added.
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