China petrochemical imports extend strong growth in September

26 October 2011 06:29  [Source: ICIS news]

China petrochemical imports extend strong growth in SeptemberBy Dolly Wu

SHANGHAI (ICIS)--China continued to import strong volumes of major petrochemical products in September as prices of most commodities declined in the international markets amid softer demand coming from industrialized countries in the West, industry sources said on Wednesday.

The country, the world’s second biggest economy, is a major importer of petrochemicals in Asia.

In September, China imported 6% more ethylene on a year-on-year basis to 79,760 tonnes, while it took in 8,774 tonnes of butadiene, representing a 16% increase, official data from China Customs showed.

Its propylene imports totaled 143,332 tonnes last month, up 76% year on year, according to the data.

Spot ethylene prices on 30 September averaged $1,090/tonne (€785/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) China, down by more than 4% from the start of the month. Butadiene prices in Asia slumped nearly 21%, while propylene values tumbled 8% over the course of the month, according to ICIS data.

The decline in prices is largely caused by sluggish demand and a general bearishness in sentiment in the market amid fears of another round of global recession.

Meanwhile, China’s imports of paraxylene (PX), which is mostly used in the textile industry, showed a sharp increase in September to 522,021 tonnes, according to customs data.

Start-ups of new downstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA) facilities in China caused the 60% year-on-year spike in PX import volumes in September, industry sources said.

Meanwhile, China imported 701,359 tonnes of monoethylene glycol (MEG), up 29% year on year, and took in 31% more acrylonitrile (ACN) at 51,279 tonnes, according to official data.

MEG also has applications in textiles, while ACN goes into the manufacture of plastics resins used in toys, among others.

China will likely continue importing strong volumes of petrochemicals in the coming months, with the European and US markets currently in doldrums because of their respective financial and economic problems, said an analyst at China Petroleum and Industry Federation (CPIF) who declined to be named.

However, the country’s imports of the main aromatics products – benzene and toluene – declined as a slew of turnarounds at major facilities in Asia tightened available spot supply, industry sources said.

China’s benzene imports declined 40% year on year to 8,870 tonnes in September, while its toluene imports fell by 38% to 48,192 tonnes, China Customs data showed.

2011-Sep

Import

Export

Product

Import (tonnes)

YoY growth (%)

MoM growth (%)

Export (tonnes)

YoY growth (%)

MoM growth (%)

Naphtha

172,599

-26%

-3%

50,528

42%

23%

Ethylene

79,760

6%

-22%

0

-100%

-100%

Propylene

143,332

76%

-2%

7

40%

40%

Butadiene

8,774

16%

-22%

8,901

39%

201%

HDPE

314,816

3%

-2%

11,103

282%

61%

LDPE

167,047

82%

-1%

6,349

-48%

1%

LLDPE

240,837

8%

-12%

3,141

100%

-25%

PP

314,639

3%

-11%

15,922

120%

1%

PVC

115,873

-19%

17%

14,852

-34%

-56%

EPS

7,389

17%

18%

23,995

-31%

11%

Benzene

8,870

-40%

-3%

9,045

28%

-38%

Toluene

48,192

-38%

-2%

3,374

2105%

10784%

MX

56

1767%

331%

61

1120%

-22%

PX

522,021

60%

13%

24,761

68%

68%

SM

321,527

1%

-7%

2,500

1249900%

6150%

PTA

514,297

5%

11%

0

-

-

MEG

701,359

29%

5%

297

-9%

-4%

ACN

51,279

31%

36%

0

-

-

Caprolactam

58,438

12%

14%

10

900%

-99%

Phenol

67,152

6%

5%

112

-95%

53%

Methanol

379,654

-21%

-15%

5,145

1609%

-63%

Acetone

66,472

-6%

24%

57

-19%

1800%

BPA

61,139

50%

1%

400

-51%

-20%

IPA

10,100

69%

27%

82

-2%

17%

MEK

282

-87%

-92%

4,422

36%

-39%

Base oil

119,447

-9%

-12%

11,866

35%

-14%

MMA

14,112

100%

-7%

3,710

-49%

-20%

PMMA

15,865

-20%

-2%

1,375

40%

9%

GAA

7,564

12%

190%

3,517

-8%

2%

BA

7,259

339%

143%

1,824

-50%

-10%

2EHA

1,228

-21%

-39%

167

-79%

-35%

2-EH

31,128

-21%

34%

201

-31%

83%

NBA

34,704

-26%

13%

57

68%

0%

PA

6,737

-64%

-50%

279

407%

98%

DOP

3,288

-72%

-58%

657

-54%

-17%

Polysilicon

6,479

36%

0%

87

-34%

-49%

Source: China Customs

($1 = €0.72)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections


By: Dolly Wu
+65 6780 4359



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