China imports of most petrochemical products rise in November

29 December 2010 09:30  [Source: ICIS news]

By Judith Wang

SHANGHAI (ICIS)--China increased its import volumes of most petrochemical products in November, auguring good times ahead for the domestic manufacturing industry, analysts said on Wednesday.

“Demand for petrochemicals burst suddenly by the year-end after being constrained for almost one year, indicating the whole petrochemical sector is riding [towards a] better direction,” said Xiong Jie, an analyst from brokerage Huatai Securities.

Propylene imports jumped 40% to 157,917 tonnes, while butadiene imports were up 32% to 19,406 tonnes in November from a year earlier, based on official customs data. (Please see the table below)

Production cuts at Chinese petrochemical majors – Sinopec and PetroChina, which were preoccupied with boosting diesel output in the fourth quarter, partially caused the higher import volumes recorded in November, analysts said.

Imports of polypropylene (PP) were up 16% year on year to 374,847 tonnes, while polyvinyl chloride (PVC) imports surged 66% to 140,857 tonnes last month, based on official statistics.

Meanwhile, high operating rates at Chinese acrylic fibre (AF) plants in November largely contributed to the 71% year-on-year jump in imports for feedstock acrylonitrile (ACN) at 52,572 tonnes, market players said.

China’s efforts to contain inflation by raising bank reserves and hikes in policy rates may have some adverse impact on the petrochemical market in the long-term, analysts said.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, has nudged up the required reserve for banks six times this year and increased its policy rates twice - the latest was a 25-basis point increase on 26 December.  

China November petrochemical trade data

($1 = CNY6.63)

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By: Judith Wang
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