China September imports of most petchems rise; MIBK, benzene lead

23 October 2013 07:03  [Source: ICIS news]

By Viola Pan

China September imports of most petrochemicals rise; benzene leadsSINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s imports of most petrochemical products increased in September, led by methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), benzene and glacial acrylic acid (GAA), official data showed.

Twenty-three out of the 39 petrochemical products that ICIS track showed higher volumes of import compared with the same period last year, based on data from China Customs released late on Tuesday.

MIBK imports posted the highest growth - more than four times the volume in September last year - to 5,322 tonnes.

Benzene imports, on the other hand, more than tripled to 128,344 tonnes from the same period last year, and were nearly double the previous month’s volume.

This was made possible by an open arbitrage window in September, when China’s domestic benzene prices were higher compared with the rest of Asia, prompting downstream producers in the styrene monomer (SM) and caprolactam sectors to import more, an industry source said.

Domestic benzene prices in China are rising on expectations of tighter supply with the scheduled turnarounds of major aromatics facilities in the country, the source said.

Benzene prices in the Chinese domestic market were assessed at yuan (CNY) 9,150-9,250/tonne ($1,502-1,519/tonne) ex-tank east China on 22 October, according to Chemease, an ICIS service in China.

At midday, regional benzene prices stood at $1,205-1,222/tonne (€880-1,674/tonne) FOB (free on board) Korea, ICIS data showed.

Meanwhile, GAA imports in September more than doubled year on year to 11,926 tonnes, in view of to the traditional peak demand season in September and October, another industry source said.

End-users in the adhesives sector typically stock up on GAA towards the fourth quarter, the source said, adding that some other expansion in downstream sectors this year has tightened the supply of GAA in the domestic market. 

Among petrochemical products that showed steep declines in imported volume in September are phthalic anhydride (PA), purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and phenol.

China’s PA imports decreased by 58% year on year to 4,938 tonnes, while its PTA imports fell by 50% to 161,600 tonnes, according to China Customs data.

Phenol imports, meanwhile, were down 46% at 25,405 tonnes in September.

China petrochemical trade in September 2013

2013-Setp

Import

Export

Product

Import (tonnes)

YoY growth (%)

MoM growth (%)

Export (tonnes)

YoY growth (%)

MoM growth (%)

Naphtha

416,641

65%

51%

9,000

-

-

Ethylene

175,716

19%

20%

0

-100%

-

Propylene

232,078

2%

6%

0

-100%

-

Butadiene

28,195

5%

6%

1,541

-48%

-

HDPE

416,961

4%

-4%

6,348

-42%

-36%

LDPE

143,161

-10%

-13%

3,437

-40%

-35%

LLDPE

253,252

15%

24%

3,189

-47%

3%

PP

453,133

-13%

12%

16,667

30%

0%

PVC

77,341

-13%

2%

31,578

-50%

-22%

EPS

6,207

27%

-4%

27,161

12%

-5%

Benzene

128,344

220%

123%

5,903

363%

117018%

Toluene

81,328

59%

-4%

34

-67%

-90%

PX

786,732

33%

0%

14,882

-26%

-26%

SM

266,327

-3%

-25%

11,986

280145%

65%

PTA

161,600

-50%

14%

22,715

351%

-15%

MEG

799,420

16%

14%

217

-93%

-21%

ACN

38,356

-35%

12%

0

-

-

Caprolactam

42,184

-29%

-4%

1

-100%

-

Phenol

25,405

-46%

19%

539

-60%

15%

Methanol

310,566

-16%

20%

22,704

20260%

-75%

Acetone

36,624

-37%

-11%

22

30%

-38%

BPA

57,263

6%

14%

3

42757%

-81%

IPA

8,856

121%

2%

2,009

258%

424%

MEK

172

63%

283%

3,653

-53%

-49%

Base oil

214,629

34%

5%

1,343

-25%

19%

MMA

23,050

-28%

11%

4,245

-4%

-17%

PMMA

24,870

16%

14%

915

-53%

-18%

GAA

11,926

168%

118%

4,789

31%

-48%

butyl-A

3,295

9%

74%

5,109

525%

40%

2EHA

4,275

71%

22%

146

25%

10%

2-EH

29,581

-4%

27%

477

59%

-25%

NBA

34,835

-33%

33%

41

-66%

-72%

PA

4,938

-58%

-53%

140

106%

178%

DOP

21,558

118%

693%

344

-47%

-38%

Polysilicon

7,515

-14%

41%

268

181%

102%

alkylbenzene

1,838

36%

7%

7,511

159%

11%

anionic surfactants

4,606

-7%

-13%

11,944

2%

14%

Butyl glycol ether

13,579

57%

27%

31

-87%

114%

MIBK

5,322

305%

847%

0

-100%

-100%

Source: China Customs

($1 = €0.73 / $1 = CNY6.09)

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


By: Viola Pan
+65 6780 4359



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