China petchem imports soar on false confidence

They always say the best form of flattery is immitation and so thanks to my colleague Paul Hodges for this graph indicating a huge surge in China’s polyethylene imports – courtesy of data from Edwin Pang of Credit Suisse.

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I agree with Paul in the latest post on his blog, Chemicals & The Economy, that the extroardinary rise in imports is partly the result of rising oil prices (inventories once again being built ahead of demand) and misplaced confidence that the worst of the economic crisis is over.

Other factors were deep Asian refinery and petrochemical operating rate cuts on terrible markets in Q4 and Jan-Feb this year and more recently, a heavy turnarounnd programme.

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