Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals to cut Osaka phenol/acetone output

17 October 2012 09:46  [Source: ICIS news]

MELBOURNE (ICIS)--Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals plans to cut its phenol/acetone output at its Osaka plant from 1 November because of the ongoing margin squeeze, a company official said on Wednesday.

Output at the Osaka plant, which can produce 200,000 tonnes/year of phenol and 120,000 tonnes/year of acetone, will be reduced to 70% capacity for the entire month of November, from 100% capacity currently, the official said.

Mitsui Chemicals’ decision to slash its output was prompted by unfavourable production economics, underpinned by comparatively high feedstock benzene costs and weak phenol/acetone demand from China, the world’s biggest importer.

In 2011, China purchased about 760,000 tonnes of phenol, mainly from Europe, Taiwan, South Korea and the US.

The country’s approximately 730,000 tonnes of acetone imports in 2011 were supplied predominantly by Taiwan, the US and Europe.  

Mitsui Chemicals will assess the market situation on an ongoing basis to decide whether it will continue with the production cutbacks beyond November, the official added.

The company shut its No 1 phenol/acetone as well as bisphenol A (BPA) plants in Chiba on 17 October for annual maintenance.

By: Trisha Huang

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