China’s toluene imports fall 17% in Oct on tight supply, high prices

27 November 2012 06:30  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s toluene imports fell by 17% month on month in October as there were limited Asian cargoes available to the Chinese market and both the import and domestic prices were high, a trader said on Tuesday.

The supply was tight as a several aromatics units were shut for maintenance. For example, SK Energy shut its reformers, with a total toluene capacity of 870,000 tonnes/year, in Ulsan, South Korea, from early October to mid-November. And JX Nippon Oil was forced to halt production at its Mizushima-based refinery, with a total toluene capacity of 330,000 tonnes/year, for safety checks from July.

Furthermore, some traders thought that downstream producers would cut their operating rates because of increasing production costs, the trader said, and hence importers’ buying interest weakened.

China imported 42,247 tonnes of toluene in October, a decrease of 8,810 tonnes from September, according to data from China Customs.

The data also showed that 88.04% and 7.12% of imports arrived in Nanjing and Shanghai Customs respectively, while 4.83% and 0.01% went to Huangpu Customs and Shantou Customs, the data showed.

The average toluene import prices in October were at $1,201/tonne (€925/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) China, up by around $66/tonne from September, according to the data.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Doris Shen

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