Japan Disaster 4 – The Impact On Paraxylene

By John Richardson

ASIAN paraxylene (PX) and styrene markets look set to be the most affected by the loss of Japanese exports as the slide below from Bob Townsend at the UK-based consultancy, International eChem (Iec) illustrates. 

Japanese Exports.ppt

My fellow blogger Paul Hodges, also of IeC has analysed the data behind the charts to produce a breakdown of Japan’s 2010 exports across the olefins, aromatics, fibre intermediates and polymers chains.

There are unconfirmed reports a 10% increased in Asian PX prioce as a result of the loss of production at JX Nippon Oil.

ICIS asessed pricing at around $1,740/tonne (€1,253/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) Taiwan and/or China Main Port (CMP) earlier today.

JX along with fellow Japanese producer Idemitsu Kosan and global major ExxonMobil are crucial to the Asian market as they nominate the monthly Asian Contract Price.

The nominations are then negotiated with the big five big buyers, two of which are Mitsubishi Chemical and Mitsui Chemicals.

The loss of Japanese PX production comes during a heavy turnaround period. Polyester producers in China are already complaining about squeezed margins and so it will be interesting to see whether the higher PX costs can be passed on down the chain.

A good article from my colleagues Peh Soo Hwee and Felicia Loo at ICIS news neatly summarises both the impact on naphtha of the loss of Japanese production and details of exactly which petrochemical plants are down across the major product chains. Our post from earlier today provides more detailsl these shutdowns.

The Kashima and Sendai ports have also been closed as a result of the disaster – meaning that even where chemicals plants are still operating, shipments may not be possible.

Again our sympathies go out to everybody caught up in this tragedy. We pray and hope that the rescue efforts go well and that Japan is soon able to focus on the rebuilding efforts.

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