Japan increases output for only four primary chemicals in March

20 April 2012 12:10  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS)--Japanese production of only four of the 18 primary petrochemical products – polystyrene (PS), acetaldehyde (ACH), xylene and butadiene rubber (BR) – increased in March from the previous month, because of operating factors, an industry association said on Friday.

The country’s production of PS rose by 34% month on month to 65,500 tonnes in March, while output of ACH more than doubled to 9,000 tonnes in March from February, figures from the Japan Petrochemical Industry Association (JPCA) showed.

Japan produced 512,400 tonnes of xylene in March, up by 4% from the previous month, while BR output rose by 5% month on month to 21,800 tonnes, based on the data.

However, production of 14 other chemicals – including ethylene, low density polyethylene (LDPE), high density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP) and styrene monomer (SM) – fell in March compared with February for similar reasons, JPCA said.

Year on year, six products, including PP, PS, ethylene oxide (EO) and ethylene glycol (EG), had higher output in March, because some of the plants were shut in the corresponding period last year after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, according to the association.

Japan’s exports of the four primary resins – LDPE, HDPE, PP and PS – increased in March from February because the former is the final month of the country’s fiscal year, JPCA said.

Year on year, exports of LDPE, HDPE and PS increased in March, but exports of PP decreased, because demand from China was robust in March 2011, the association added.

Meanwhile, Japan’s production of ethylene decreased by 11% to 470,400 tonnes in March from the previous month, and decreased 8.6% year on year, according to the association.

The average operating rate of Japan’s naphtha crackers was 83.6% in March, down from 84.5% in February, and a decrease from 90.3% in March 2011, JPCA said.

Two naphtha crackers at unspecified locations were shut for scheduled maintenance in March, while no cracker had a maintenance shutdown in February, the association said.

One cracker was shut for a turnaround in March 2011, it added.

Read John Richardson’s Asian Chemical Connections blog

By: Tomomi Yokomura
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