US petchem exports to lessen the pain?

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There are reports, confirmed by one consultant, of a flood of US polyolefin exports from the US to Asia, China in particular.

Staggering polyolefin import figures for China in January-February show big percentage increases both year-on-year and month-on-month. The March data is due out shortly.

The big worry remains how much of this is going into inventories because of the easy credit in China, which, according to some unconfirmed reports will not last much longer. Others, however, predict that the lending binge will support China’s economy for the rest of this year.

Alot of the froth in the China market could also be the result of a big up-tick in activity on the Dalian Commodity Exchange.

But to go back to the main point of this blog entry, there are predictions that US ethane versus naphtha costs could remain very competitive for the next two years because of the fall in natural-gas demand.

And with Brazil also rumoured to be an increasingly important polyolefin exporter to Asia, US/Americas-Asia trade flows may be about to enjoy one last hurrah before the Middle East and growing China self-sufficiency slam the door shut – perhaps for good.

Another thought: Could the recent apparent rise in US-Asia exports be the result of producers making hay while an anaemic sun shines (comparatively higher prices in Asia compared with the West) ahead of a possible General Motors bankruptcy?

That’s the beauty of blogging – you can raise the questions and ask others to provide the answers!

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