Japan's petrochemical output increases on Kashima restarts - JPCA

17 June 2011 12:10  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS)--The restart of some plants at the Kashima petrochemical complex in Ibaraki prefecture have boosted Japan’s output of chemicals products in May, the Japan Petrochemical Industry Association (JPCA) said in a statement on Friday.

Several plants in Kashima were forced to halt production after Mitsubishi Chemical’s 453,000 tonne/year No 2 naphtha cracker at the same site was shut because of damages brought on by the devastating earthquake on 11 March.

Mitsubishi Chemical restarted the cracker on 20 May.

The country’s production of 14 products out of 18 primary chemicals, including ethylene, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), styrene monomer (SM), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), polybutadiene rubber (BR) and benzene rose in May from April, the statement said.

Meanwhile, domestic production of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polystyrene (PS), xylene and acrylonitrile (ACN) decreased in May year on year, it said.

The output of SBR showed the largest month-on-month increase by 38% to 47,700 tonnes in May, while output of ethylene oxide (EO) rose 33% to 59,100 tonnes, according to JPCA.

Compared with the same period a year earlier, output of 14 products including ethylene, HDPE, PP, SM, PVC, ACN and BR decreased in May, partly due to operating factors, JPCA said, without further elaborating.

Production of ethylene glycol (EG) showed the greatest year-on-year decline by 19% to 29,200 tonnes in May 2011, while production of HDPE fell by 16% to 81,200 tonnes year on year, according to JPCA.

Domestic shipments of LDPE, HDPE and PP decreased in May from April because of fewer business days in May due to public holidays as well as higher resin imports, JPCA said.

Domestic shipments of LDPE fell by 21% to 102,400 tonnes month on month, while shipments of HDPE fell by 18% to 62,800 tonnes, according to the JPCA figures.

On year-on-year basis, shipments of LDPE and HDPE decreased by 1% and 5% respectively, on the back of higher imports, the JPCA data showed.

Domestic shipments of PP fell by 12% to 160,700 tonnes because of lower operating rates in the downstream injection molding industry, the association added.

Meanwhile, exports of LDPE, HDPE and PS declined in May from a month earlier as producers prioritised on domestic shipments to capitalise on the higher domestic demand brought on by the events on 11 March, JPCA said.

A total of 11,300 tonnes of LDPE were exported in May, down 33% from the previous month and a 37% decrease from the corresponding period a year earlier, while 5,800 tonnes of HDPE were exported in May, a 26% decrease from April and a 37% decline from the year-before period, according to JPCA.

For more on ethylene visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Tomomi Yokomura
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