07 February 2011 00:00 [Source: ICB]
The growth of olefins imports is expected to continue through 2011
China's olefins imports rose year on year in December amid tight domestic supply, with the growth expected to continue in 2011, industry players and analysts said.
"The increase in olefins imports in December was closely related to tight domestic supply as two energy giants, Sinopec and PetroChina, shifted their focus to boost diesel production," said Yu Chunmei, an analyst from brokerage house Shenyin & Wanguo Securities in Shanghai.
Olefins imports will most likely continue to be strong in 2011 since no big petrochemical complex is scheduled to start up in China this year and domestic consumption is still strong, Yu told ICIS.
Ethylene imports in December jumped up by 37% versus the same period last year to 88,445 tonnes and butadiene (BD) imports grew by 67% to 38,727 tonnes, according to China Customs. Naphtha imports soared by 22% year on year and 23% month on month to 406,738 tonnes in December.
Chinese market players such as Sinopec scrambled for spot naphtha in the last two months of 2010 because of a domestic supply crunch, traders said.
However, China may see fewer imports in January compared with December as importers are unwilling to build up inventories ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday that starts on February 2, sources said.
Overall, olefins imports fell in 2010 after a strong 2009 because of the government's fiscal stimulus package.
Ethylene imports dropped by 16% to 815,405 tonnes in 2010 and propylene imports dipped by 2% to 1.5m tonnes, China Customs said.
Additional reporting by Felicia Loo and Chow Bee Lin in Singapore
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