28 May 2010 07:45 [Source: ICIS news]
SHANGHAI (ICIS news)--China’s petrochemical imports in April fell across the board on the back of weak demand, ample domestic supply and higher prices of imported materials, industry sources said on Friday.
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“Furthermore, new capacity additions, like the start-up of SABIC-Tianjin petrochemical complex, also eased the 'hungry demand' for these commodities from the world’s third-largest economy,” she added.
Following the start of the complex in January,
Butadiene imports plummeted by 63% year on year to 12,418 tonnes and dropped 33% from March volumes.
In addition, traders attributed the month-on-month imports slump of plastics-related chemicals, including polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), to the weak downstream demand.
April PVC imports decreased by 53% year on year to 106,910 tonnes and fell 28% from March, China Customs said.
“Last month, the PVC import prices were higher than domestic prices, which naturally lead to a fall in imports volumes. Domestic oversupply also weighed down the buying sentiment,” a trader said.
However, feedstock imports of polyester products, including purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and monoethylene glycol (MEG), bucked the trend and showed a 10% and 30% rise, year on year, to 474,049 tonnes and 633,738 tonnes respectively. Traders attributed "better downstream operations" as a factor for the increase.
“The feedstock inventory of downstream buyers is very low and the operating rate of polyester plants is around 80%. The textile sector is [performing] better than last year,” a trader said.
“Whether the petrochemical imports will show an upward trend in the next few months still depends on the recovery of downstream sectors,” Du Zhiqiang, an analyst from Shanghai-based Ping An Securities said.
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