US EDC exports fall back in June on downstream plant restart

12 August 2014 21:02 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US exports of ethylene dichloride (EDC) fell back in June, down 18% from May’s high, but remained ahead of June 2013 as foreign sales for the year continue to climb, according to figures released this week by the US International Trade Commission.

US EDC exports are up 20% for the first half of the year, to 638,151 tonnes, compared with 530,348 tonnes sold into foreign markets during the first six month of 2013. US export volumes this year have averaged 106,358 tonnes/month.

The US has no significant imports of EDC.

The June easing from May levels came as Axiall began using its EDC domestically after the restart of the company’s PHH vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plant, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The company had exported its EDC while the VCM plant was down following a fire in January. The plant came back online in June and required feedstock on hand to begin the restart.

US EDC has enjoyed strong sales growth to Asia and the Mediterranean this year. Sales to Egypt, India, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan are up sharply. China is the only market to show a decline for 2014.

EDC is an upstream precursor to the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It is also a safe and relatively inexpensive form to ship chlorine. Additionally, the Asian ethylene supply is structurally constrained.

Major US producers of EDC include Axiall, Dow Chemical, OxyVinyls, a division of Occidental Chemical and Westlake Chemical.

US EDC Exports

 Markets

Jun-14

May-14

Jun-13

YTD 2013

YTD 2014

% chg

Global

121,101

146,935

117,433

530,348

638,151

20

China

52,438

49,841

75,153

235,874

206,867

-12

Japan

27,329

43,863

25,783

127,373

150,696

18

Korea

22,526

21,383

16,346

96,227

102,970

7

India

10,469

6,436

0

19,177

61,938

223

Taiwan

6,183

10,876

0

18,729

47,645

154

Thailand

2,017

5,001

0

0

9,518

n/a

Egypt

0

3,149

0

21,018

46,316

120

All others

0

6,321

44

10,579

11,617

10

Source: US International Trade Commission
By Bill Bowen