Japan's March PVC output jumps 27% on demand recovery

21 April 2010 11:26  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS news)--Japan’s production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in March jumped 27% year on year  to 142,910 tonnes on the back of recovering domestic demand and exports, a high-ranking industry source said on Wednesday.

Vinyl Environmental Council (VEC) president Kimikazu Sugawara said that total domestic PVC shipments last month were also up 27% to 92,255 tonnes.

Shipments of the material for production of rigid PVC totalled 50,065 tonnes in March, while those for flexible PVC were at 24,746 tonnes, according to Sugawara.

“Overall, (shipments) for all applications (of PVC) are robust, and (demand in) overseas is also steady,” Sugawara said in Japanese.

Domestic PVC demand was particularly strong from housing construction segment for use in window frames, Sugawara said.

“We are hearing about very positive factors that shipments (of PVC products) in the related industries (to housing) have doubled or tripled from the same time the previous year,” he said.

Sugawara noted that some companies in different industries, including the automotive industry, were inclined to take a second look at the safety and cost-performance of using PVC. The material was previously deemed as harmful to the environment.

“We’ve been contacted by the designers in automotive companies saying they plan to use PVC. For example, PVC used for the under-body coating of cars was being replaced by acrylic (resin), and acrylic is being replaced by PVC again,” he said.

Exports of PVC, meanwhile, inched up 2% year on year to 65,315 tonnes in March due to continuingly strong demand from China and Southeast Asia, according to Sugawara.

Japan’s domestic PVC shipments in fiscal 2009 to March 2010 totalled 992,432 tonnes, down 9% from the previous year, Sugawara said.

“It’s regretful (total domestic shipments) didn’t reach 1m tonnes. But in fiscal 2010, we feel it will be over 1m tonnes because demand is getting stronger,” he said.

“For it to happen, the housing and construction industries and (the government’s) investments for infrastructures must completely recover. Nearly 50% of PVC (demand) is influenced by the housing and construction industries,” Sugawara added.

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By: Tomomi Yokomura
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